pageok
pageok
pageok
Joe Biden's Big Adventure.

I looked to see if I could find evidence to support Joe Biden's claim today that he had "'hundred of thousands' of people at his announcement speech for his first U.S. Senate run" in 1972. Tip to Ben Smith.

In 1972, Joe Biden was elected to the Senate with 116,006 votes (50.5%); his Republican opponent received 112,844 votes.

So far I can find no evidence that when 29-year-old New Castle County Council member Joe Biden announced his candidacy for the US Senate in 1971-72, every voter in the state, both Republican and Democratic, took off from work or childrearing to hear him speak in person.

Maybe some of our Delaware readers are old enough to remember such an amazing day. It must be seared — seared — into their memories.

MarkField (mail):
Gosh, you got him there. I guess Joe'll be resigning in shame tomorrow.
8.28.2008 10:05pm
Obvious (mail):
That's being very unfair, Jim. You're ignoring the likely tens of thousands that came in from neighboring New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland...
8.28.2008 10:06pm
anonxyz (mail):
do you really have no better use for this platform? people mis-speak. people exaggerate. no one reading biden's words charitably, or even reasonably, would find anything with which to quibble.

perhaps we should judge john mccain on his inability to distinguish suni and shia, or the fact that he doesn't know that iraq and afghanistan don't share a border (that pesky iran is in the way, or his commitment to keep troops in irag for 100 years.

way to elevate the debate, professor.
8.28.2008 10:06pm
Obvious (mail):
Anonxyz:do you really have no better use for this platform? people mis-speak. people exaggerate. no one reading biden's words charitably, or even reasonably, would find anything with which to quibble.
----
Anon, doesn't that depend somewhat on the actual facts? Sure people misspeak, and if Biden had, say, 70,000 people at his initial announcement speech, no one would think twice about him rounding up. If he had 10,000 and was off by an order of magnitude, maybe it was a mis-speak in the sense you mean.

But if, as I'd guess, he had a few hundred people there, then his statement becomes a lie...it becomes a lie used solely because of the speaker's confidence in the credulity of those to whom he was speaking.
8.28.2008 10:12pm
taney71:
I think a bigger Biden lie was talking about Obama's major accomplishments. I think on two of them Obama had nothing to do with them. For instance, the Walter Reed hospital mess came out because of the Washington Post, not Obama. And the reforms did not come from a committee Obama chaired or was a member on.

As for the ethics bill, I think most people consider it to be a joke. Pork ... still there. Lobbyist ... still employed.
8.28.2008 10:16pm
Bruce:
What-EVer.
8.28.2008 10:27pm
OrinKerr:
Jim,

Are you sure that Ben Smith didn't just misquote Biden? Have other sources reported the same phrase?
8.28.2008 10:28pm
MarkField (mail):

But if, as I'd guess, he had a few hundred people there, then his statement becomes a lie


It seems at least equally likely that he meant to say "hundreds" or "a thousand" and simply messed up the line by conflating the two words.


do you really have no better use for this platform?


I think you're underestimating the cynicism here. If McCain supporters can shout "gotcha" at trivial gaffes often enough, people will stop paying attention to McCain's own very real mistakes.
8.28.2008 10:39pm
Bruce F. Webster (mail) (www):
I suspect he said (or meant to say) "hundreds and thousands" (a common English phrase; Google it) rather than "hundreds of thousands". But I could be wrong. ..bruce..
8.28.2008 10:41pm
jccamp (mail):
I've always thought Sen Biden to be a viable hot air alternative energy source. i guess what he said about hundreds of thousands etc is no big deal , but it does sound a little like Gore inventing the Internet.
8.28.2008 10:43pm
Rational Debate:
Jim, some friendly advice: save your ammo until a real target wanders into your gunsights. Methinks Biden likely meant to say "hundred OR thousands" not "of."

In the meantime, Bruce (9:27 pm) got it about right. Besides, Biden is known for being just inarticulate from time to time that I'm sure you'll get your chance to really zing him one of these days...
8.28.2008 10:43pm
Arkady:

Jim,

Are you sure that Ben Smith didn't just misquote Biden? Have other sources reported the same phrase?


Trust Orin to bring a little reason into the discussion.
8.28.2008 10:46pm
wm13:
I certainly hope Mr. Field emails Jacob Weisberg regularly, pointing out how stupid and pointless Slate's "Bushisms" feature is, since presidential malapropisms--half of which, as Prof. Volokh has demonstrated on numerous occasions, aren't even malapropisms--have nothing to do with the real issues. Unfortunately, I suspect Mr. Field in fact chuckles at the "Bushisms" and takes them as evidence of President Bush's inferior intellect.
8.28.2008 11:01pm
James Lindgren (mail):
People are so humorless. It was funny what Biden said.

So Biden has a penchant for hyperbole. It's no big deal. There's nothing malevolent about what he said or what I said.

It's just such a silly thing to say.

BTW, the phrase was noted by many others, including ABC and the Washington Post, and most saw it humorously as I did.
8.28.2008 11:05pm
Michael Drake (mail) (www):
Smith didn't misquote Biden; he didn't even quote Biden.
8.28.2008 11:06pm
DC:
People are so humorless. It was funny what Biden said.
There's nothing quite like blaming the audience for not getting a joke.
8.28.2008 11:11pm
Smokey:
MarkField:
Gosh, you got him there. I guess Joe'll be resigning in shame tomorrow.
When it used to be shameful to be caught lying, often a resignation would follow. Lying used to be considered wrong. Now it gets a pass:
"I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I'm going to say this again: I_did_not_have_sexual_relations_with_that_woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time — never. These allegations are false."
Hillary dodging bullets in Bosnia. John Edwards (fill in the blank). Obama just didn't understand what Rev. Wright was saying for twenty years, etc.

There aren't many honest politicians today in any party. It's a shame, because like an individual, a country's character is its destiny.
8.28.2008 11:15pm
Brian K (mail):
So Smokey, when can i expect you to call on bush to resign?
8.28.2008 11:35pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
I'd be interesting in hearing a tape. "hundreds OR thousands" doesn't sound much different from "hundreds OF thousands".
8.28.2008 11:46pm
MQuinn:
Lindgren said:

People are so humorless. It was funny what Biden said.

So Biden has a penchant for hyperbole. It's no big deal. There's nothing malevolent about what he said or what I said.

It's just such a silly thing to say.

BTW, the phrase was noted by many others, including ABC and the Washington Post, and most saw it humorously as I did

Pointing out petty gaffes can be humorous, I agree. I also agree that Biden's mistake in the present case is funny.

However, it is disingenuous to suggest that humor was the purpose behind this post. The rate of anti-Obama posts that Lindgren has made (I assume that a critique of Obama's VP selection qualifies) is evidence (though not dispositive) that there is a purpose to undermine the Democratic nominee. The the present post is but one example of this pattern. BTW, I just noticed that Lindgren made another anti-Obama post a few minutes ago.

That said, I do not mind the anti-Obama posts, as they are often thoughtful and always challenge my own thinking. However, lets call a spade a spade -- this post wasn't made for the primary purpose of humor, as was implied above.
8.28.2008 11:49pm
MQuinn:
And just as I post the above comment, Lindgren says this: "The full text of Obama's speech is online.-- The text of Obama's speech is here. I've read it. On balance, it looks excellent."

Don't I feel like a total idiot!
8.28.2008 11:51pm
James Lindgren (mail):
MQuinn,

I disagree. My motivation was to be humorous.

Yet I don't think that one's politics are irrelevant. I think one's politics affects what we find funny.

I think conservatives or libertarians will often find different things funny than liberals will.
8.29.2008 12:00am