Did Bill Clinton Tweak Biden's Plagiaristic Past?: The Ticker

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By Michael Kinsley

The most mysterious item in Bill Clinton’s new book, “Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy,” comes on page 25, where the former president talks about his frustrations, in campaigning for Democrats in 2010, that “Vice President Biden and I” couldn’t persuade the Democratic National Committee “to send out a centralized set of talking points.”

Or actually, he says, bizarrely,“Vice President Biden -- whose speeches provided much of the same information and made many of the same arguments mine did ...” One could be forgiven for thinking this is a sly reference to Biden’s troubles in running for president in 1988, when he withdrew after Maureen Dowd of the New York Times noted the similarity between Biden’s standard stump speech and an address by Neil Kinnock, the British Labour Party  leader.

Why Clinton would want to run the risk of reminding people of this episode -- and the reference seems to serve no other purpose -- one can only speculate. And speculation is invited in our comments section. More on the Clinton book in my column on Friday.

(Michael Kinsley is a member of the Bloomberg View editorial board.)



-0- Nov/09/2011 14:24 GMT