Fact Check: Joe Biden Claims He Got Involved in Politics Through Civil Rights

Biden Claims to Have Marched in Civil Rights Movement

CLAIM: Former Vice President Joe Biden asserted that he got involved in politics through the Civil Rights Movement at the eight Democrat presidential primary debate in New Hampshire on Friday.


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 a 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. 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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