Friday, October 19, 2012

Lies, Damned Lies and Politicians: Joe Biden

I think I'm going to start a new line of posts about politicians who blatantly lie to promote their agendas, careers, etc.

I just read this ABC article regarding a statement Joe Biden made during the VP debate.  While discussing Medicare reform he referred to his role in the 1983 Social Security negotiations stating “Look, I was there when we did that with Social Security in 1983. I was one of eight people sitting in the room that included Tip O’Neill negotiating with President Reagan. We all got together and everybody said, as long as everybody’s in the deal, everybody’s in the deal, and everybody is making some sacrifice, we can find a way.”

This wasn't the first time he made the implication that he was a key player in the negotiations.  On Meet the Press in April of 2007 he said he was “one of five people — I was the junior guy — in the meeting with Bob Dole and George Mitchell when we put Social Security on the right path for 60 years.”

But according to the ABC article, Biden was not a key player in the Social Security reform.  "Those close to the Social Security reform process say that the chief negotiations were made between then-Sens. Bob Dole, R-Kansas, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., through the National Commission on Social Security Reform, which worked throughout 1982 on recommendations to help guarantee the solvency of the program, and conducted final negotiations in January 1983. The commission kept President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Tip O’Neill, D-Mass., in the loop throughout the process.  President Reagan signed their work into law in April 1983. There were 15 members of the commission, including Dole, Moynihan, and two other senators; Biden was not one of them. Nor was he at the signing ceremony."1

This really shouldn't be of any surprise considering Joe's vast history with stretching the truth.  For instance, during his 1988 presidential campaign, while responding to a question asked about his grades in law school he responded that he had "went to law school on a full academic scholarship - the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship" that he "ended up in the top half of my class" and "graduated with three degrees from undergraduate school".  In actuality he had received a half scholarship to law school based on financial need with some assistance based upon academics, had graduated in the bottom 10% of his class and had not three but one undergrad degree with a double major in history and political science.2

1. Jake Tapper. "In VP Debate, Biden Seemed to Overstate His Role in Social Security Reform" abc News 16 October 2012

2. Joe Biden. Wikipedia. accessed 10/19/2012

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