Biden: Buttigieg Stole My Health Care Plan

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December 3, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Monday claimed fellow Democratic 2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg "stole" his health care plan.

Biden spoke to reporters in Iowa about the South Bend, Ind., mayor's "Medicare for All Who Want It" health care plan, saying "He stole it" from the Biden campaign, Politico reported.

Reporters asked Biden about Buttigieg's attempt to appeal to the former vice president's moderate Democratic electorate. Biden insisted Buttigieg's health care proposal was his own idea and downplayed the Indiana mayor's growing support. "No, he doesn't have the enthusiasm and the moderate—moderate plan," Biden said. "It's the Biden plan."

"What would you have done to me? You would have torn my ears off," Biden added. "I would be a plagiarizing, no good, old man who did bum bum bum."

Biden himself has faced accusations of plagiarism, both in the 2020 primary and during his first run for the presidency in 1988. His campaign's climate change proposals appeared to have lifted language from climate activism organizations without attribution this June. In 1988, the then-senator copied phrases from a British Labour Party politician's speech.

Biden also went after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) on Monday, who was tied with the former vice president in a Des Moines Register/CNN poll last month. Biden dismissed Warren's strong polling in New Hampshire.

"Look at the polling everywhere. Tell me. Tell me where the polling has manifested itself," Biden said. "She lives in Massachusetts, she's invested millions and millions of dollars in New Hampshire, why shouldn't she be known there?"

Both Buttigieg and Warren's campaigns pushed back on Biden's comments. Buttigieg's campaign claimed that the South Bend mayor discussed his health care plan in February, two months before Biden jumped into the Democratic primary. Warren's campaign spokesman, Chris Hayden, told Politico that the "campaign is not on air in New Hampshire" and "didn't run any TV ads during her 2018 re-election."