Politico chief political correspondent Tim Alberta offered Joe Biden praise for remarks he made at a town hall on Thursday, which were apparently completely false.
After being asked if Biden benefited from “White privilege,” Biden pivoted to his “Scranton roots,” highlighting his non-Ivy League education as a commonality with ordinary Americans.
“Guys like me, the first in the family to go to college,” Biden said. “My dad busted his neck and came up here, worked here… We are as good as anybody else, and guys like Trump, who inherited everything and squandered what they inherited, are the people I’ve always had a problem with.”
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Alberta showered the Democratic candidate with high marks, suggesting “This might be the single-most effective line deployed against Trump since he rode down the escalator.”
However, Biden’s “single-most effective line” was actually a falsehood.
The Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway fact-checked Biden, pulling up a quote the candidate made to The New York Times back in 1987 admitting that he wasn’t, in fact, the first in his family to go to college, telling the paper “there are Finnegans, my mother’s family, that went to college” in addition to his great-grandfather.
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Moreover, the claim was actually one of the several examples of plagiarism that derailed Biden’s first presidential run. His “first in the family” remarks originated from speeches made by British Labour politician Neil Kinnock.
Even Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler praised Hemingway’s reporting, acknowledging he overlooked Biden’s falsehood from the town hall.
Critics piled on Alberta’s praise for the former VP, which remained on Twitter for at least 19 hours.
“Why haven’t you deleted this? Joe Biden was not the first person in his family to go to college. It is a lie, and a plagiarized lie at that,” Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy told Alberta.
“It’s a lie,” Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor tweeted.
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“‘Effective line; that is false,” Fourth Watch media critic Steve Krakauer said. “Also, interesting that the media coverage of this quote is avoiding the context, which was a question about ‘White privilege,’ which he briefly nodded to before pivoting to essentially claiming he has no privilege because he’s from Scranton.”
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