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Biden Gets 'Four Pinocchios' for Falsely Claiming He Was Arrested During Civil Rights Protest

01-14-2022
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President Joe Biden speaks at Atlanta University Center Consortium, on the grounds of Morehouse College and Clark Atlanta University, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The Washington Post gave President Joe Biden its most severe fact-check score of "Four Pinocchios" for his false claim that he was "arrested" for the first time when he was a teenager at a civil rights demonstration in Delaware. 

As Glenn Kessler, The Post's fact-checker pointed out in his Thursday analysis, "Biden claims yet another arrest for which there's little evidence." He noted that Biden is "not always a reliable source" with the "exaggerated" stories he tells. 

The Post tweeted Kessler's fact-check, writing: "Fact Checker: Biden claims yet another arrest for which there's little evidence."

"I did not walk in the shoes of generations of students who walked these grounds. But I walked other grounds. Because I'm so damn old, I was there as well. You think I'm kidding, man. It seems like yesterday the first time I got arrested," Biden told the assembled audience Tuesday during his speech at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. 

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Kessler wrote it's not the first time that Biden has claimed he had been arrested. 

"Previously, he has said he was arrested trying to see Nelson Mandela in South Africa (Four Pinocchios false) and for trying to enter an all-female dorm room at Ohio University (Partly False, according to USA Today). He has also suggested he was arrested for wandering onto the Senate floor as a 'star-struck kid,' but most times he has indicated he was just given a warning," the Post's fact-checker explained. 

"But there's no evidence we can find that Biden was ever arrested," he added. 

According to Kessler, Biden appeared to be referring to a story he has told on several occasions about a conversation with his mother in 2008 when he was thinking about whether or not to accept Barack Obama's offer to be his running mate. 

In the story, Biden's mother reminds him of the time when he went to help support a black family during a protest when he was a teen. They had bought a house in town not too far from where the Biden family lived. 

Kessler explained that Biden has told the story over the years with several changes, including how old he was and the protest's location. 

The writer also noted Biden did not include the arrest in his autobiography even while including the same conversation with his mother. 

Kessler revealed a review of several news reports did mention protests in the area during the time about a house that was bought by a black family.  But after examining the evidence, the Post's fact-checker believes too many components of Biden's story simply didn't add up. 

"The primary source for this story is Biden — and we've learned over the years that he is not always a reliable source. He appears to be citing his mother to enhance his civil rights credentials — which we have noted he has exaggerated before — but too many elements do not add up to give this 'arrest' more credibility than his previous claims of getting in trouble with the law," he wrote. 

"The president earns Four Pinocchios," Kessler added. 

Biden has been repeatedly called out for telling tall tales over the years. He had to admit in 2020 that he fabricated the story of getting arrested during his efforts to meet Nelson Mandela in South Africa during apartheid. 

The White House did not respond to a request for comment from The Post. 

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