Fact Check: Joe Biden Did Not Come Out of the Civil Rights Movement

FRANK HURLEY/NY DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE VIA GETTY IMAGES
FRANK HURLEY/NY DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE VIA GETTY IMAGES

Former Vice President Joe Biden claimed to have come out of the civil rights movement while campaigning in South Carolina on Wednesday.

“I came out of the civil rights movement,” the 76-year-old Democrat frontrunner told a group of voters when discussing his political record and fitness for the presidency.

The claim, which Biden has made repeatedly over the span of his more than 40-year political career, is not accurate. Biden, who served as a public defender and local elected official before being elected to the Senate in 1972, was never a full-time activist, let alone leader within the civil rights movement.

Although Biden took part in a few desegregation protests as a teenager, no record exists that he took part in any of the defining episodes of the civil rights movement throughout the 1960s. Despite there being no evidence, Biden has often inflated his civil rights activism while campaigning for public office.

As Breitbart News previously reported, Biden claimed to have “marched” in the civil rights movement during his first presidential bid.

“When I marched in the Civil Rights movement, I did not march with a 12-point program,” Biden told a group of school children in during a visit to New Hampshire in 1987. “I marched with tens of thousands of others to change attitudes, and we changed attitudes.”

The claim, however, turned out to be a lie, according to a report in June by the New York Times’ Matt Flegenheimer.

“More than once, advisers had gently reminded Mr. Biden of the problem with this formulation: He had not actually marched during the civil rights movement,” wrote Flegenheimer. “And more than once, Mr. Biden assured them he understood — and kept telling the story anyway.”

The exaggeration, along with Biden’s propensity for plagiarism, would eventually force him to abandon his bid for the 1988 Democrat nomination before a single vote was cast.

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