CNN anchor John King ripped former vice president Joe Biden on Wednesday after his campaign was caught plagiarizing several environmental nonprofits for his climate change plan.
The 2020 frontrunner's campaign scrambled to make amends for not citing several lifted passages in his $1.7 trillion proposal to battle climate change. King, a veteran reporter, was unimpressed.
"This is a pretty amateur mistake for the frontrunner's campaign to make on a substantial policy rollout, when they had to know … the one thing they cannot do is plagiarize," King said.
CNN reporter Arlette Saenz said the campaign would have to be mindful of the issue going forward, given Biden's painful history with the subject. His first presidential campaign fell apart in 1987 when he was busted for plagiarism in law school.
This was not an "A" performance by Biden's team, King said.
"When this has been an issue in the past … he's the leader of the organization. Hello?" King said.
Washington Post congressional reporter Karoun Demirjian said the error showed a lack of foresight, to put it politely.
"It's lazy or it's arrogant," King said. "You would think he would be happy to quote progressive groups on his website."
King said it was an issue of leadership and "competence," noting the seriousness of plagiarism in his field of journalism.
"You can't do this stuff. You just can't," he said. "You do it in our business, and you get fired."
Biden's second presidential run in 2008 never got headway either, as he dropped out after a dismal showing in the Iowa caucuses. Since his eight years serving as Barack Obama's vice president, however, he's gained popularity in the party and enjoys wide leads in early primary polling.
Addressing climate change is one of the most significant issues for Democratic primary voters. The same day Biden announced his plan, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) released a proposed $2 trillion investment in green manufacturing.