CNN host John King blasted the Biden campaign Wednesday afternoon for "lazy," "arrogant," and "amateur" plagiarism after they used uncited copy on the climate change section of their campaign platform.
"Biden's first presidential campaign, back in the 1988 race, was derailed by charges of plagiarism both on the campaign trail and also during his time in law school," CNN's Arlette Saenz noted.
"This is an amateur mistake on a substantial policy rollout when they had to know... the one thing they cannot do is plagiarize," King said. "It's lazy or it is arrogant... This is a leadership and competence issue."
JOHN KING, CNN: Joe Biden's campaign fending off allegations of plagiarism today after revelations that the climate change policy plan copied language directly from multiple liberal activist groups and a news site. It circulated on social media yesterday just hours after the plan was posted by the campaign online. Biden campaign claiming simply a matter of missing citations. But, it was a similar allegation that helped sink Biden's 1998 presidential campaign... Forgive me here. Having lived through the '87 campaign, this is an amateur mistake on a substantial policy rollout when they had to know... the one thing they cannot do is plagiarize.
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN: This was certainly a glitch in their rollout. Biden had been talking about this climate change plan that was going to be coming for weeks now. He was pushing back against criticism that he might take a middle ground approach to climate change. In the plan released yesterday, Biden embraced parts of the Green New Deal, which has become a litmus test for many 2020 Democratic candidates. He called the Green New Deal a "crucial framework for combatting climate change," and said he aimed to eliminate greenhouse emissions by 2050.
They did run into a little bit of trouble when it came to the actual plan released itself. When it was revealed that some passages in the plan bore similar language to proposals put forth by progressive organizations, either on websites and letters. The Biden campaign said as soon as they realized citations were missing that they worked to quickly amend that. Biden's first presidential campaign, back in the 1988 race, was derailed by charges of plagiarism both on the campaign trail and also during his time in law school. This is certainly something that they are going to have to be mindful of going forward especially as you look back at the former vice president's own personal history with this.
JOHN KING: Supposed to be a campaign "A team." This was not an "A" performance... This is Joe Biden in a "New York Times" story from September 18, 1987: "Mr. Biden said today, as he did 22 years ago that he misunderstood the rules of citation and footnoting. 'I was wrong, but I was not malevolent in any way.' I didn't intentionally move to mislead anybody, and I didn't. To this day I didn't."
This is about him plagiarizing in college. "To this day," that's what they are saying now. When this has been an issue in the past, how? How? This is a staff issue. I'm sure former vice president had nothing to do with this. He is the leader of the organization. Hello?
CNN PANELIST: Also these days as opposed to the '80s they have software to do this. It is simple to check everything, to be on the safe side, to make sure this sort of public error because somebody will catch it. It shows a bit of lack of forethought is the polite way of saying it. The worst case scenario is potentially too much arrogance.
JOHN KING: It's lazy or it is arrogant. You would think he would be happy to quote progressive groups on his website? They're attacking him, he could have embraced.
CNN PANELIST: It could have been a lot worse. What if he had taken from a center-right think tank?
JOHN KING: Let's move on. This is a style issue. This is a leadership issue. He wants to be the president of the United States. This is a leadership and competence issue. You can't do this stuff. You just can't. You do it in our business, you get fired.