Saturday, 23 August 2008

ZOGBY ON THE VP SELECTIONS

Ken Berwitz

Does a candidate's vice president selection really help or hurt him that much? 

Here are data compiled by the Zogby organization a month ago that give us a bit of insight (or, at any rate, as much insight as a political poll can give):

If Obama were to choose Powell, 42% of likely voters nationwide said it would make them more likely to support the Democratic candidate - as did 42% of Democrats and 43% of political independents. The Zogby International telephone poll of 1,039 likely voters nationwide was conducted July 9-13, 2008, and asked respondents how the selection of certain vice presidential candidates would affect their likelihood to vote for the two leading presidential candidates. It carries a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

Likelihood to vote for Barack Obama if he chooses ... as his Vice President

Likely Voters

Democrats

Independents

More Likely

Less Likely

More Likely

Less Likely

More Likely

Less Likely

Colin Powell

42%

10%

42%

12%

43%

9%

Hillary Clinton

30%

25%

47%

15%

33%

26%

Bill Richardson

15%

10%

9%

13%

12%

9%

Joe Biden

11%

16%

6%

22%

11%

13%

Kathleen Sebelius

7%

11%

10%

11%

7%

9%

Tim Kaine

7%

11%

8%

10%

8%

8%

Evan Bayh

6%

12%

9%

9%

7%

9%

While just 10% of likely voters said the selection of Powell would make them less likely to vote for Obama - giving him a net positive of 32% - Obama's former challenger for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton, fared less positively overall. Even though 30% of likely voters would be more likely to support Obama with Clinton on the ticket, 25% would be less likely - giving Clinton just a 5% net positive rating among likely voters. Clinton fares much better with fellow Democrats, as 47% said they would be more likely to vote for Obama if Clinton were his running mate, for a net positive of 32% among Democrats.

Former Republican rivals Huckabee and Romney could give McCain a boost

Among McCain's potential vice presidential picks, former Republican nomination challengers Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney earned the strongest support from likely voters overall, as well as from Republicans and political independents. Among likely voters, 27% would be more likely to support McCain with Huckabee on the ticket, and 26% said the same if Romney were selected. A Huckabee pick would cause 13% of likely voters to be less likely to support McCain, while 11% would be less supportive of the presumptive Republican nominee if he were to choose Romney as his running mate. Among Republicans, 40% would be more likely to support a McCain/Huckabee ticket, while 11% would be less likely - a 29% net positive for the choice of Huckabee. If Romney were to be chosen, 41% of Republicans would be more inclined to vote for McCain, compared to 8% who would be less likely, for a net positive of 33%. Both fare well among political independents, with a 15% net positive for Huckabee and a 17% net positive for Romney if chosen as a running mate by McCain.

Likelihood to vote for John McCain if he chooses ... as his Vice President

Likely Voters

Republicans

Independents

More Likely

Less Likely

More Likely

Less Likely

More Likely

Less Likely

Mike Huckabee

27%

13%

40%

11%

29%

14%

Mitt Romney

26%

11%

41%

8%

30%

13%

Joe Lieberman

20%

17%

26%

16%

20%

22%

Charlie Crist

5%

10%

8%

12%

5%

9%

Bobby Jindal

5%

9%

7%

9%

6%

9%

Tim Pawlenty

3%

8%

3%

5%

1%

7%

Mark Sanford

3%

9%

3%

9%

2%

10%

McCain's selection of Sen. Joe Lieberman would create a 3% net positive among likely voters and a 10% net positive among Republicans. Choosing Lieberman would create a 2% net negative on their likelihood to vote for McCain among independents. Florida's Republican Gov. Charlie Crist - often mentioned as a potential McCain running mate - shows net negatives among likely voters, Republicans and political independents, as does Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

Interesting, to say the least.

If these data are correct, they indicate that Barack Obama's two best running mates were a Republican (Powell) and the one person he clearly had no intention of considering (Clinton).  But the four worst performers (Sebelius, Biden, Kaine and Bayh) were all on his short list right to the very end.

This is the sound judgment we keep hearing about?

On the Republican side, the two big winners are Mike Huckabee (who Mr. McCain appears to not be considering at all) and Mitt Romney (who is a finalist).  Tim Pawlenty's numbers are so low that the real finding about him, I suspect, is that no one knows who he is.  That, of course, would change if he were Mr. McCain's selection.

One last point.  Look at that disparity on more and less likely to vote when Democrats are discussing Joe Biden.  6% more likely to 22% less likely!  The single worst showing of the entire field, and by plenty.

If Barack Obama wants to energize his base, picking Joe Biden may well do so.  But I doubt that it is the way he had in mind.


OBAMA AND ACORN

Ken Berwitz

We owe Michelle Malkin a major vote of thanks for digging out and compiling the evidence that deeply connects Barack Obama with the thoroughly corrupt, thoroughly lunatic-left ACORN (The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). 

Since Ms. Malkin's expos is longer than the usual posts here, I won't say any more.  And since every word is worth your time, I am putting nothing in bold print.  Read it all for yourself:

ACORN Watch, Pt II: Obama hid $800,000 payment to ACORN through Citizen Services, Inc.

By Michelle Malkin    August 22, 2008 11:46 AM

Theres much more to the story of Obamas amended campaign finance reports than what Obama and the Obamedia will tell you. I will fill you in on whats missing in a moment. What we have here, essentially, is Obama using a non-profit group called Citizens Services Inc. as a front to funnel payments to ACORN for campaign advance work. Obama officials say its no big deal. Nothing to see here. Move along. But where theres left-wing laundering smoke, theres fire. CSI has been the subject of a little-noticed complaint to the FEC by a Democrat who smelled something rotten going on between CSI, ACORN, and a left-wing 527, Communities Voting Together.

But first, the headline:

Obama to amend report on $800,000 in spending

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has details:

U.S. Sen. Barack Obamas presidential campaign paid more than $800,000 to an offshoot of the liberal Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now for services the Democrats campaign says it mistakenly misrepresented in federal reports.

An Obama spokesman said Federal Election Commission reports would be amended to show Citizens Services Inc. a subsidiary of ACORN worked in get-out-the-vote projects, instead of activities such as polling, advance work and staging major events as stated in FEC finance reports filed during the primary.

FEC spokeswoman Mary Brandenberger said it is not unusual for campaigns to amend reports, even regarding large sums of money.

But, said Blair Latoff, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee: Barack Obamas failure to accurately report his campaigns financial records is an incredibly suspicious situation that appears to be an attempt to hide his campaigns interaction with a left-wing organization previously convicted of voter fraud. For a candidate who claims to be practicing new politics, his FEC reports look an awful lot like the old-style Chicago politics of yesterday.

The suspicions are well-placed, as Ive been detailing ever since starting ACORN Watch.

Jim Terry, spokesman for a group that tracks ACORN, said Citizens Services Inc.s involvement in the Obama campaign raises bigger questions.

All of this just seems like an awful lot of money and time spent on political campaigning for an organization that purports to exist to help low-income consumers, said Terry, chief public advocate for Consumers Rights League, a Washington, D.C., advocacy outfit with a libertarian outlook.

ACORN has a long and sordid history of employing convoluted Enron-style accounting to illegally use taxpayer funds for their own political gain, Terry claimed. Now it looks like ACORN is using the same type of convoluted accounting scheme for Obamas political gain.

Are your alarm bells ringing yet?

The Ohio primary was March 4. According to FEC records, the Obama campaign paid Citizens Services Inc. $832,598.29, from Feb. 25 to May 17.

A Trib analysis of campaign finance reports showed Obama paid CSI for services that stood out as unusual. For example, CSI received payments of $63,000 and $75,000 for advance work. Excluding the large payments to CSI, the average amount the Obama campaign spent with other organizations was $558.82 per check on more than 1,200 entries classified as advance work.

Citizens Services Inc. is headquartered at the same address as ACORNs national headquarters in New Orleans. Citizens Services was established in December 2004 to assist persons and organizations who advance the interests of low- and moderate-income people, according to paperwork filed in Louisiana. In a 2006 ACORN publication, Citizen Services Inc. is described as ACORNs campaign services entity.

Separate? Bull:

Regarding CSIs nonprofit status, Robinson said: We are organized specifically not to make money, but we make money. There are no profits. We have a staff of 60 people around the country, and that eats up our entire profit. Were not a for-profit corporation, but we are not a group like a United Way.

CSI is a separate organization entirely from ACORN, he said.

ACORN is a client of ours, Robinson said. ACORN has a lot of different partner organizations. We are a partner, but we are separate.

Robinson is listed on several Web sites as national deputy political director for campaigns and elections at ACORN. He is also listed as political director at the nonprofit Communities Voting Together and as a consultant at Project Vote. He did not return phone calls or an e-mail request for a follow-up interview.

Money flows back and forth between ACORN, Citizens Services Inc., Project Vote and Communities Voting Together. ACORN posts job ads for Citizens Services and Project Vote. Communities Voting Together contributed $60,000 to Citizens Services Inc., for example, in November 2005, according to a posting on CampaignMoney.com. Project Vote has hired ACORN and CSI as its highest paid contractors, paying ACORN $4,649,037 in 2006 and CSI $779,016 in 2006, according to Terry of the Consumers Rights League.

And now, lets dig deeper.

FEC reports show that from February-May 2008, Obama paid $832,598.29 to CSI.

The payments were for:

$310,441.20 25-FEB-08 STAGING, SOUND, LIGHTING
$160,689.40 27-FEB-08 STAGING, SOUND, LIGHTING
$98,451.20 29-FEB-08 TRAVEL/LODGING
$74,578.01 13-MAR-08 STAGING, SOUND, LIGHTING
$18,417.00 28-MAR-08 POLLING
$18,633.60 29-APR-08 STAGING, SOUND, LIGHTING
$63,000.00 29-APR-08 ADVANCE WORK
$105.84 02-MAY-08 LICENSE FEES
$105.84 02-MAY-08 LICENSE FEES
$75,000.00 17-MAY-08 ADVANCE WORK
$13,176.20 17-MAY-08 PER DIEM

Interesting services and payments for a nonprofit that supposedly does simple canvassing work on behalf of low-income people. And now, the Obama campaign is going to wave its magic wand and change those services to get-out-the-vote work? What the?

For your information: The New Orleans building that houses CSI also houses multiple chapters of ACORN and the SEIU as well as the 527 group Communities Voting Together.

And for your information: A tipster points to shady business by CSI -detected by Maryland Democrat Al Wynn, of all people. His team, which filed an FEC complaint over the matter, linked several suspicious outfits used by his primary opponent to one address: 1024 Elysian Fields in New Orleans. Thats the address of CSI and ACORN.

In a letter to the FEC, Lori Sherwood, the congressmans campaign manager, wrote, Based on my examination of various records and documents I believe the Donna Edwards for Congress Committee has received substantial assistance by way of unreported, in-kind contributions from organizations who profess to have operated independently of the Edwards Campaign.

In a lengthy complaint, Sherwood claimed that as executive director of the social justice organization the Arca Foundation, Edwards was responsible for administering and overseeing grants that are awarded and distributed by the group grants that go to some of her campaigns biggest supporters.

By way of example and not limitation, the Arca Foundation contributed $100,000.00 in grants to the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) from 2004-2006, Sherwood said.

That after having been intimately involved in the award of an Arca grant to the LCV, Donna Edwards was appointed to the Board of Directors of the League of Conservation Voters, she continued. After receipt of grant money from Ms. Edwards group and her appointment to the LCV Board, LCV endorsed Donna Edwards for Congress in 2006 and 2008.

Sherwood goes on to allege that the LCV and its principals contributed over $15,000.00 to the Edwards campaign through its board members, employees, and the LCV PAC.

Tip of the iceberg:

Sherwood said the 527 group Communities Voting Together(CTV), which is located at 1024 Elysian Fields in New Orleans, was also the address for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 100, and theaddress of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN),along with the Elysian Fields Corporation.

Wade Rathke, President of Elysian Fields Corporation is also the chief organizer for SEIU Local 100, founder of ACORN, and a member of the Board of Directors of Tides Center and Tides Foundation, Sherwood said while alleging that Tides, a social justice network, received $245,000 ingrant money from the Arca Foundation from 2002-2006.

She continued, saying, Donna Pharr is the Custodian of Record for Communities Voting Together, the Assistant Treasurer for ACORN, andDeputy Treasurer for the American Institute for Social Justice and Voting forAmerica, Inc. Both of these organizations received a combined total of $230,000 in grants from Arca between 2003 and 2006.

Sherwood also said members of the CTV printed and distributed thousands of handouts attacking Congressman Wynn, while they also attempted to hire canvassers to assist the Edwards campaign.

She continued, saying, Donna Pharr is the Custodian of Record for Communities Voting Together, the Assistant Treasurer for ACORN, and Deputy Treasurer for the American Institute for Social Justice and Voting for America, Inc. Both of these organizations received a combined total of $230,000 in grants from Arca between 2003 and 2006.

Sherwood also said members of the CTV printed and distributed thousands of handouts attacking Congressman Wynn, while they also attempted to hire canvassers to assist the Edwards campaign.

In addition, Sherwood said she also learned of a relationship between the Edwards [campaign] and another not for profit, Citizens Services, Inc., a Louisiana corporation also claiming the address 1024 Elysian Fields in New Orleans.

I learned that Citizens Services, Inc. qualified to do business in Maryland as a foreign corporation and gave a registered agent address of 11 East Chase St., in Baltimore, Sherwood said.

In checking to verify the address, I learned that there is no record of Citizen Services, Inc. actually having an office in Baltimore, she added. According to recent records from the Maryland State Department of Taxation and Assessments Citizens Services, Inc.s ability to do business in Maryland was forfeited less than 2 months after the 2006 primary.

Sherwood alleged that the Edwards campaign paid Citizens Services a total of $76,866.80 in three separate payments in a door to door get out the vote effort.

There is at least one other example of suspiciously large payments to Citizens Services, Inc. that call into question what kind of work this non-partisan, non-profit is doing.

See here, where liberal group Ohio Citizen Action notes a $907,808 payment to Citizens Services for canvassing and $590,526.10 for campaign consulting. Thats some gold-plated get-out-the-vote and consulting services right there.

The scheme has all the appearances of another left-wing slush fund for Democrat satellites exploiting their non-profit status and skirting campaign finance laws.

The more things Change

The closer you look at Barack Obama's background and associations the more sickened you get.

But, then again, what would you expect from a Chicago Democratic machine politician without any discernible accomplishments, who is selling the utterly meaningless premise of "change we can believe in"?

That's something to think about on election day.


BIDEN ON OBAMA

Ken Berwitz

As you know by now, Joe Biden is John McCai.....er, Barack Obama's running mate.

If you're wondering why I might be confused as who who he is playing second fiddle to, watch the following ad, courtesy of the New York Times, which the McCain people clearly had ready and waiting just in case Mr, Biden was picked:

August 23, 2008, 6:43 am

McCain Rolls Out New Ad With Bidens Words

Just three hours after the Obama campaign sent out its text announcement, the McCain campaign rolled out its first ad this morning, using Senator Joe Bidens own words during the primary season about Senator Barack Obama.

From a debate in 2007, a clip shows Mr. Biden standing next to Mr. Obama. George Stephanopoulos of ABC News queried Mr. Biden: You were asked, Is he ready? You said, I think he can be ready but right now, I dont believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.

Mr. Biden: I think that I stand by the statement.

In addition, the McCain ad uses footage from another TV appearance, where Mr. Biden said, I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off.

.

Now that hurts.

You have to hand it to McCain's campaign apparatus.  They are right on top of things.  By comparison, the Bush people never came close to being this prepared to do battle (and they won twice anyway).

This is going to be some campaign.


JOE BIDEN IN HIS OWN WORDS

Ken Berwitz

Here is a compendium of the wit and wisdom of Joe Biden, as compiled by Jim Geraghty of National Review.  Every is one a verbatim quote.  Every one is referenced and dated:

Enjoy:

On McCain:
 Biden, on a post-debate appearance on MSNBC, October 30, 2007: The only guy on the other side whos qualified is John McCain. 

Biden appearing on The Daily Show, August 2, 2005: John McCain is a personal friend, a great friend, and I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off, be well off no matter who... 

On Meet the Press, November 27, 2005: Ive been calling for more troops for over two years, along with John McCain and others subsequent to my saying that.

On Obama:
 Reacting to an Obama speech on counterterrorism, August 1, 2007: Look, the truth is the four major things he called for, well, hell thats what I called for, Biden said today on MSNBCs Hardball, echoing comments he made earlier in the day at an event promoting his book at the National Press Club. Biden added, Im glad hes talking about these things. 

Also that day, the Biden campaign issued a release that began, The Biden for President Campaign today congratulated Sen. Barack Obama for arriving at a number of Sen. Bidens long-held views on combating al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That release mocked Obama for asking about the stunning level of mercury in fish and asked about a proposal for the U.S. adopt a ban on mercury sales abroad at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

 Assessing Obamas Iraq plan on September 13, 2007: My impression is [Obama] thinks that if we leave, somehow the Iraqis are going to have an epiphany of peaceful coexistence among warring sects. Ive seen zero evidence of that.

 Speaking to the New York Observer: Biden was equally skeptical albeit in a slightly more backhanded way about Mr. Obama. I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, he said. I mean, thats a storybook, man.

 Also from that Observer interview: But and the but was clearly inevitable he doubts whether American voters are going to elect a one-term, a guy who has served for four years in the Senate, and added: I dont recall hearing a word from Barack about a plan or a tactic.

 Around that time, Biden in an interview with the Huffington Post, he assessed Obama and Hillary Clinton: The more people learn about them (Obama and Hillary) and how they handle the pressure, the more their support will evaporate.

 December 11, 2007: If Iowans believe campaign funds and celebrity will fix the debacle in Iraq, put the economy on track, and provide health care and education for Americas children, they should support another candidate, said Biden for President Campaign Manager Luis Navarro. But Im confident that Iowans know what I know: our problems will require experience and leadership from Day One. Empty slogans will be no match for proven action on caucus night.

 Also that night, Biden said in a campaign ad, When this campaign is over, political slogans like experience and change will mean absolutely nothing. The next president has to act.

 September 26, 2007: Biden for President Campaign Manager Luis Navarro said, Sen. Obama said he would do everything possible to end the war in Iraq and emphasized the need for a political solution yet he failed to show up to vote for Sen. Bidens critical amendment to provide a political solution in Iraq. 

December 26, 2006: Frankly, I think Im more qualified than other candidates, and the issues facing the American public are all in my wheelbarrow.

On Iraq:
 Biden on Meet the Press in 2002, discussing Saddam Hussein: Hes a long term threat and a short term threat to our national security We have no choice but to eliminate the threat. This is a guy who is an extreme danger to the world.

 Biden on Meet the Press in 2002: Saddam must be dislodged from his weapons or dislodged from power. 

Biden on Meet the Press in 2007, on Husseins WMDs: Well, the point is, it turned out they didnt, but everyone in the world thought he had them. The weapons inspectors said he had them. He catalogued they catalogued them. This was not some, some Cheney, you know, pipe dream. This was, in fact, catalogued.

 Biden, on Obamas Iraq plan in August 2007: I dont want [my son] going [to Iraq], Delaware Sen. Joe Biden said from the campaign trail Wednesday, according to a report on Radio Iowa. But I tell you what, I dont want my grandson or my granddaughters going back in 15 years and so how we leave makes a big difference. Biden criticized Democratic rivals such as Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama who have voted against Iraq funding bills to try to pressure President Bush to end the war. Theres no political point worth my sons life, Biden said, according to Radio Iowa. Theres no political point worth anybodys life out there. None.

 Biden on Meet the Press, April 29, 2007: The threat [Saddam Hussein] presented was that, if Saddam was left unfettered, which I said during that period, for the next five years with sanctions lifted and billions of dollars into his coffers, then I believed he had the ability to acquire a tactical nuclear weapon not by building it, by purchasing it. I also believed he was a threat in that he was every single solitary U.N. resolution which he agreed to abide by, which was the equivalent of a peace agreement at the United Nations, after he got out of after we kicked him out of Kuwait, he was violating. Now, the rules of the road either mean something or they dont. The international community says Were going to enforce the sanctions we placed or not. And what was the international community doing? The international community was weakening. They were pulling away.

 Biden to the Brookings Institution in 2005: We can call it quits and withdraw from Iraq. I think that would be a gigantic mistake. Or we can set a deadline for pulling out, which I fear will only encourage our enemies to wait us out equally a mistake.

 Analyzing the surge on Meet the Press, September 9, 2007: I mean, the truth of the matter is that, that the Americas this administrations policy and the surge are a failure, and that the surge, which was supposed to stop sectarian violence and long enough to give political reconciliation, theres been no political reconciliation... The reality is that, although there has been some mild progress on the security front, there is, in fact, no, no real security in Baghdad and/or in Anbar province, where I was, dealing with the most serious problem, sectarian violence. Sectarian violence is as strong and as solid and as serious a problem as it was before the surge started.

 Biden in October of 2002: We must be clear with the American people that we are committing to Iraq for the long haul; not just the day after, but the decade after.

 On Meet the Press, January 7, 2007, assessing the proposal of a surge of troops to Iraq: If he surges another 20, 30, or whatever number hes going to, into Baghdad, itll be a tragic mistake, in my view, but, as a practical matter, theres no way to say, Mr. President, stop.

 On Meet the Press, November 27, 2005: Unless we fundamentally change the rotation dates and fundamentally change how many members of the National Guard were calling up, itll be virtually impossible to maintain 150,000 folks this year. (The number of troops in Iraq peaked at 162,000 in August 2007, during the surge.)

Having said all that: Theres something decent at the core of Joe Biden.
Jim Geraghty, December 13, 2007


JOE BIDEN'S HISTORY OF PLAGIARISM

Ken Berwitz

Since I made a passing reference to Joe Biden's plagiarism in the previous blog, I thought I would give you a more complete look at what I'm talking about.  Here are the specifics, from the rruly fascinating web site www.famousplagiarists.com:

Joe Bidens history of plagiarism and stressless scholarship gave plenty of ammo to his enemies, one of them choosing to circulate a so-called attack video to demonstrate Bidens outright plagiarism of a British politicians speech. But this appropriation from Neal Kinnock was not the first occurrence of unacknowledged lifting by the senator from Delaware.

In 1965 Biden plagiarized while writing a paper as a student at the Syracuse University Law School in a legal methods course which he failed because of that copied paper. Such stressless scholarship as it is euphemistically called has become all too common in the modern Internet era with countless cheatsites and research services offering to sell students papers on topics from A to Z.

Bidens case demonstrates that student plagiarism is nothing new. Only the methods of cheating have changed. Today, cheating has gone digital with the proliferation of Internet based paper filing and distributions systems, but the principlesor lack thereofare the same. And as the Biden case illustrates, getting caught for such academic dishonesty may have serious ramifications for ones political career. Joe Bidens failed bid for the Democratic ticket is a case in point.

Stressless scholarship may seem like a pretty good idea at the time that many students make that decision to crib, copy, or dowload a paper off the Internet, but in Bidens case the plagiarism of his student days came back to haunt his bid for the democratic presidential nomination like a spectre from his past.

In an article entitled Bidens Belly Flop, Newsweek printed Joe Bidens yearbook picture from his college days and a copy of his law school transcripts with the big F in his transcripts circled. Biden was given a chance to repeat his legal methods course, and above the F his retake grade of 80% was eventually penciled in. Being a repeat offender when it came to plagiarism made things much, much worse for Biden than they might have been otherwise in his failed bid for the Democratic presidential ticket in 1987.


Senator Bidens plagiarism of a speech by British Labor Party leader Neal Kinnock took place at a campaign stump at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. In closing his speech, Biden took Kinnocks ideas and language as if they were his very own inspired thoughts, prefacing Kinnocks ideas with the phrase I started thinking as I was coming over here . . . . Little did Biden suspect that video footage of this speech would be spliced together with footage of Kinnocks speech in an attack video which would be distributed by members of the Dukakis campaign.

Making the headline news in the New York Times, and the evening news on TV, the video was a stab in the back for Biden by his democratic competitor, and although he insisted that Im in this race to stay. Im in this race to win, the resulting publicity surrounding his unacknowledged use of Neal Kinnocks speech was what eventually forced him out of the race. Name recognition was no longer a problem for Biden, but not the kind of name recognition which would assist his campaign for the democratic presidential nomination. His name was now a byword for plagiarism. His situation became a classic example of plagiarism for high school teachers and college instructors across the nation lecturing on the evils of unacknowledged source use.

Biden initially denied any wrongdoing, claiming that this was just an inadvertent lack of acknowledgement. Yet there were other instances of rhetorical borrowing from speeches made by Robert F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. And the fact that Biden had given other speeches using the Kinnock passages without acknowledgment suggested that the lifting was more than just an inadvertent oversight.

As with Al Gores case, the perception existed in the public mind that Biden just wasnt the real thing. He wasnt authentic, didnt have thoughts and ideas of his own, and was a malleable piece of clay being molded by his handlers to suit the political whims and fancies which they thought would appeal to voters. A Time magazine article by Walter Shapairo was pretty much on the money in offering the speculation that In the end, Biden may be remembered as the candidate who truly offered the voters an echo and not a choice.

William Safire, former speechwriter for Richard Nixon, gloated in the New York Times over Bidens demise, quoting a supposedly embittered Democrat who said, Im going back to Gary Hart . . . At least he didnt steal that girl from some far-lefty in England. And he concluded his op-ed column with a swipe at Bidens ability to think apart from his speechwriter: So my advice to candidates like Joe Biden is this: Do justly, love perorations and walk humbly with thy speechwriter. (I forget where I got that, but it has a nice ring to it.)

With all the press he was receiving over his Neal Kinnock plagiarism courtesy of the Dukakis attack videos, Biden was quickly becoming the most famous political plagiarist of our time, as Thomas Mallon describes the unfortunate Delaware senator. It was just a matter of time before Biden would have to bow out of the democratic primary.

Biden himself thought that all the attention to his rhetorical borrowing was frankly ludicrous, and the media analysts generally agreed, stating that is was hardly a capital offense, but as William Safire put it, times have changed; you cant get away with borrowing anything these days not even an oratorical technique, much less a phrase or paragraph unless you are willing to give the attribution. If Gores loss of the presidency to George W. Bush in 2000 was more indirectly related to plagiarism, it is evident that Bidens case is without question a direct result of his unacknowledged use of Kinnocks speech as if it were his very own. This instance of plagiarism and the public exposure it received cut short the presidential aspirations of an otherwise gifted orator and statesman.

References

Let's put it this way:  If Mr. Biden begins his acceptance speech at the convention by saying "We have nothing to fear but fear itself", he's back to his old tricks.


JOE BIDEN: THE GOOD NEWS AND THE BAD NEWS

Ken Berwitz

The good news for Barack Obama is that, in Joe Biden, he has someone who has been in the senate for a long time, has worked hard as a senator and has undeniable experience in foreign affairs.  Since Mr. Obama has none of these attributes, Biden's addition certainly enriches the ticket.

But here is the bad news.  And, unfortunately for Mr. Obama, it is far more extensive.

-Joe Biden, like Barack Obama, is a senator.  That means there is no executive experience on the ticket.  Even if John McCain also picks a career senator or house member as his running mate, the worst he comes out on this dimension is dead even;

-Joe Biden is a Washington insider of the first order.  The moveon.org/george soros hard leftists, and the people who are mesmerized by Barack Obama's meaningless slogan of "Change we can believe in", can't be happy with Mr. Biden being one heartbeat from the presidency.  He isn't change we can believe in, he is establishment that we can count on;

-Joe Biden is a genuinely dangerous running mate.  If there is one thing we know about Mr.Biden it is that he has a penchant for shooting off at the mouth and then regretting what he said afterwards.  That is bad enough when you're speaking for yourself, but 100 times worse when you are supposed to be subordinating your positions to a running mate who then has to explain your big mouth away afterwards. 

One example (among a great many) is when, in 2006, he said that, in Delaware, you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. .  Can you imagine what would happen if John McCain said "In DC you can't go to a ribs place unless you have a slight Black accent"?  But, of course, John McCain didn't say something that offensive and stereotyped.  Biden did;

-Joe Biden cannot bring his state over to Barack Obama (the way, say, Tim Kaine might have brought Virginia over).  Delaware is the bluest of blue states and is going to vote Democratic regardless of who Barack Obama's running mate is;

-Finally, despite the commentaries you will hear about how Joe Biden attracts working class Catholics and blue collar workers in general (you know, the people who Mr. Obama crapped on with his "clinging to guns" condescension in San Francisco), the truth is that, outside of Delaware, Mr. Biden has no following at all. 

He has run for the Presidency several times and gotten exactly nowhere.  Not even close.  And to make matters worse, his first run ended in complete disaster when it came out that Mr. Biden was plagiarizing other more successful politicians (like Neal Kinnock of the UK) to get material that he thought would attract voters.

My overall take on the selection of Joe Biden, therefore, is that it is not going to help Barack Obama and may well hurt him.   A net negative. 

Now let's see who McCain picks.  Hey, for all I know it could be even worse.

We'll see......


JOE BIDEN AND LOBBYISTS

Ken Berwitz

Wasn't that Barack Obama railing against lobbyists and the money they spend to procure favorable treatment from politicians?  I could have sworn it was him.

Well, if so, what about this report from Ed Morrissey of  www.hotair.com?  The hypocrisy is Obama's.  The bold print is mine:

Bidens lobbying ties

posted at 9:30 am on August 23, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

How thoroughly did Barack Obama vet Joe Biden?  After months of demonizing lobbyists, Obama selected a running mate who has taken millions in contributions from those same lobbyists Obama supposedly eschewed, at least until the DNC started running out of money.  In fact, Bidens son works as a lobbyist on Capitol Hill, accruing the kind of earmarks that Obama has both decried and pursued:

Biden has accepted $5,133,072 in contributions from lawyers and lobbyists since 2003. Obama does not accept contributions from federally registered lobbyists.

And he has one other weakness that hasnt received much attention to date. One of Bidens sons, Hunter, is a registered Washington lobbyist in a year in which Obama has been excoriating lobbyists and the culture of corruption in Washington. The younger Biden is a name partner at the firm Oldaker, Biden & Belair, LLP, and seems to have specialized in lobbying for just the kind of earmark spending by Congress that Obama has vowed to slash. Republican insiders say the party is likely to make an issue of Bidens family lobbying ties.

Also expect to hear more about Bidens close ties with credit card companies. His largest contributor (based on total contributions by employees) over the past five years has been MBNA, the Delaware-based bank aquired in 2005 by Bank of America than until then was the worlds largest independent credit card issuer and a major supporter of the 2005 bankruptcy bill that Biden crossed the aisle to support.

Once again, I want to point out that lobbying is a Constitutionally protected exercise.  The First Amendment gives Americans the right to petition Congress, and nothing prohibits or even discourages citizens from organizing in that effort to harness the power of numbers.   Run ethically, the practice of lobbying fills an important role in politics.

Of course, Im not the one declaring lobbyists persona non grata in the Democratic Party.  That was Barack Obama, who declared just two months ago that lobbyists would not fund my party:

"The Democratic National Committee will uphold the same standard: We will not take a dime from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs. They will not fund my party!"

Take a look at the top five industries that donate to Biden as well:

  • Lawyers/law firms
  • Real estate
  • Retired
  • Securities & investment
  • Miscellaneous finance

Real estate and miscellaneous finance wouldnt that figure into the credit crisis and the housing market collapse?

It looks like Obama didnt just throw Hope and Change under the bus, but himself right along with it.  Whether this is hypocrisy or incompetence, its stunning either way.

Is this a joke?  Can Obama and his people be this incompetent?

Or is it just a cynical assumption that, no matter what they do, the mainstream media will be running interference for them?

What a sad, sorry pair of options.


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