Joe Biden accused of plagiarizing from Jack Layton's final letter in nomination speech
By Jonathan Bradley
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, a man not unaccustomed to allegations of plagiarism, is now being accused of copying the words of former New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton.
At a speech at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, Biden’s final address included the lines, “For love is more powerful than hate. Hope is more powerful than fear. And light is more powerful than dark.”
Social media was quick to point out that the words were eerily similar to ones found in a letter Layton wrote before he died in 2011.
“My friends, love is better than anger,” said Layton in his letter. “Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair.”
Biden’s remarks were made two days before the ninth anniversary of Layton’s death.
Sophia Banks, a plant-based chef, tweeted that she was disappointed Biden copied Layton’s comments.
“Jack Layton is trending,” tweeted Banks. “One of Canada’s most beloved politicians. As Biden butchers his dying words left to us.”
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Sandy Hudson, an activist with Black Lives Matter, tweeted Biden’s speech reminded her of Layton.
“So very very Jack Layton,” tweeted Hudson.
However, the sentiments Layton made also channel lines from a speech former prime minister Wilfrid Laurier gave in 1916.
“Let me tell you that for the solution of these problems you have a safe guide, an unfailing light if you remember that faith is better than doubt and love is better than hate,” said Laurier.
Laurier’s speech was meant to promote unity among Canadians during World War I and build connections between English and French-Canadians.
Biden has been accused of plagiarism in the past. Most famously, he plagiarized a speech in 1987 from former British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock.
Kinnock’s speech said, “Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Why is Glenys (his wife) the first woman in her family in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because all our predecessors were thick?”
Biden’s speech said, “I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university? Why is it that my wife who is sitting out there in the audience is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright?”
The incident is believed to have harmed Biden’s chance at becoming the Democratic nominee for president in 1988.
In the past Biden has called himself a gaffe machine. He said in 2007 that then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama was “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”
He also had to revise a comment he made in 2007 when he said he was shot at in the Green Zone during a trip to Iraq.
His 2020 presidential campaign has already been filled with missteps. He confused New Hampshire with Vermont during a campaign stop in 2019. He said in February that he was a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate when he was running for president.