If only Vice President Joe Biden had stuck to plagiarism. But he apparently hasn’t learned. In 1987, he copied and used a large chunk of a speech given by British labor leader Neil Kinnock, even though some of the facts (related to family history) didn’t match his own. Since then, he’s gone from plagiarism to smashmouth rhetorician.
Last week, Biden was called out by former Bush advisor Karl Rove because Biden repeatedly said he’d chastised President Bush in person. And Biden came out of the ensuing discussion with a lot of mud on his face.
On April 6, 2009, Biden said: “I remember President Bush saying to me one time in the Oval Office, ‘Well, Joe, I’m a leader.’ And I said: ‘Mr. President, turn and around look behind you. No one is following.’” Three days later, on April 9, Rove said Biden’s conversation with Bush did not happen. Candida P. Wolff, Bush’s White House liaison, concurred: “I don’t ever remember Biden being in the Oval. He was such a blowhard on all that stuff — there wasn’t a reason to bring him in."
Facts notwithstanding, Biden has been telling stories that make it sound like he had unfettered access to Bush for some time. On HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” in April 2006, Biden said: “The president will say things to me, and I’ll literally turn to the president, say: ‘Mr. President, how can you say that, knowing you don’t know the facts?’ And he’ll look at me and…say: ‘My instincts. …I have good instincts.’ [To which I’ll say]: ‘Mr. President, your instincts aren’t good enough.’"
Although these various yarns might spin quite well on a sideshow like Maher’s, they don’t pass muster with people like Rove or anyone else that served in the Bush administration (except, of course, that great American Scott McClellan). Still, “Biden spokesman Jay Carney said…the vice president stands by his [remarks].”
Which is not surprising, given Biden’s record.
In the run-up to the 2008 presidential election, Joe Biden’s conspicuous problems with the truth led even left-leaning reporters to label him a “gaffe machine.” And when his storytelling got too out of hand on the campaign trail, Barack Obama hid him from the public, leaving us with echoes of his frequent (falsified) trips to Home Depot.
And while Sarah Palin was one of the first conservatives with the moral fortitude to point out Biden’s falsehoods with, “There you go again, Joe,” Karl Rove just made certain she wasn’t the last. On April 9, 2009, Rove grew tired of Biden’s fiction and called him a “serial fabricator.”
In one television appearance Rove actually called Biden a “liar.” Which is no more — and no less — than a fact.
Biden is a “serial fabricator.” In his debate with Palin, he claimed to support “clean coal,” even though he was on record saying of the Obama/Biden ticket: “We’re not supporting clean coal." He told Palin that Obama had said nothing about meeting Iran’s president for talks “without preconditions,” while the New York Post reported that when “Obama was asked if he would [meet “without preconditions”] in a debate during the primaries, he said ‘yes.’”
In his debate with Palin, Biden also told America that “[Senator John] McCain voted ‘the exact same way’ as Obama to increase taxes on Americans earning just $42,000.” But that was a lie as well: McCain did not support the increase. On energy issues, Biden said he agreed with McCain/Palin’s calls for increased drilling. His exact words were “drill we must.” But, as stoptheaclu.com revealed, “Biden has opposed offshore drilling and even compared offshore drilling to ‘raping’ the Outer Continental Shelf.”
After the Vice Presidential primaries, Boston’s Howie Carr described Biden’s ongoing embellishments as an attempt “to prove his authenticity,” while Slate magazine took it a bit further: “Biden’s…self-aggrandizing thefts, misstatements, and exaggerations…seem…to point to a serious character defect."
Of course, Biden’s fabrications did not begin with his debate against Palin. For example, in July 2008 Biden claimed to have been to the Green Zone in Iraq “seven times and shot at” while there. But when Fox New’s Bill Sammon and others pressed Biden on this fiction he “backpedaled from [the] claim of being ‘shot at’ and instead allowed: ‘I was near where a shot landed.’"
Then, not even two months later, Biden gave a speech to National Guardsmen in which he spoke of being in a helicopter that came under terrorist attack and “was forced down, with a three-star general and three senators at 10,500 feet in the middle of [the] mountains [in Afghanistan].” But guess what? It was soon discovered that it had been “inclement weather, not terrorists, [which] prompted the chopper to land in an open field during Biden’s visit to Afghanistan in February 2008.”
To make matters worse, one of the other senators aboard the helicopter with Biden was John Kerry, who told the AP: “We were going to send Biden out to fight the Taliban with snowballs [when our helicopter landed], but we didn’t have to." Kerry added that, “"Other than getting a little cold, [things were] fine."
Think about that: Biden’s lies were so bad that even Kerry made fun of him.
And now, after drawing sniper fire that he didn’t draw and taking part in an emergency landing caused by terrorists who weren’t there, Biden has drawn Rove’s ire by relating stories of how he “rebuked” President George W. Bush in an Oval Office meeting that didn’t take place.
Biden’s inability to stop and correct his fiction is a guarantee that this won’t be the last time we’ll remember Palin glancing at him and saying, “There you go again, Joe.” And it also means that Rove’s “serial fabricator” remains on the loose, seeking “to prove his authenticity” by telling us many great and wonderful things that never happened.