Former Vice President Joe Biden lied more than once about having marched with the civil rights movement when he was vying for the 1988 presidential nomination, according to The New York Times.
Times reporter Matt Flegenheimer started his piece with a damning anecdote about how Biden, a notoriously unpredictable and free-wheeling speaker, blatantly misrepresented his civil rights participation:
Joe Biden was riffing again — an R.F.K. anecdote, a word about “civil wrongs,” a meandering joke about the baseball commissioner — and aides knew enough to worry a little.
“When I marched in the civil rights movement, I did not march with a 12-point program,” Mr. Biden thundered, testing his presidential message in February 1987 before a New Hampshire audience. “I marched with tens of thousands of others to change attitudes. And we changed attitudes.”
More than once, advisers had gently reminded Mr. Biden of the problem with this formulation: He had not actually marched during the civil rights movement. And more than once, Mr. Biden assured them he understood — and kept telling the story anyway.
Panelists on CNN’s “The Lead” with Jake Tapper discussed the article, and senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny relayed a baffling explanation for Biden’s lies which he was told by the former senator and VP’s aides:
“When he gets very comfortable out on the stump, speaking and other things, he has tended to embellish. He has tended to make things sound slightly rosier than they are,” Zeleny said. “Now his aides went back and said look, he was in office marching for the idea of civil rights, but was not actually marching in the streets.”
“Huh?” Tapper interrupted, as he and other panelists laughed. “That’s not what the word ‘marching’ means.”
CNN Panel Laughs At Joe Biden’s Claim Of Marching During Civil Rights Movement