News

Did RNC Imply Biden Stole Old Speech Excerpt from Hillary Clinton?

This rumor was posted on the RNC Research account on X in early January 2024 with the caption, "BIDEN v. HILLARY: 15 years apart."

Published Jan 10, 2024

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shares a moment with Vice President Joe Biden on Dec. 8, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shares a moment with Vice President Joe Biden on Dec. 8, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

On Jan. 9, 2024, the GOP's @RNCResearch account on X posted a 37-second video with the caption, "BIDEN v. HILLARY: 15 years apart."

The account is an official arm of the U.S. Republican National Committee. Its bio reads, "Exposing the lies, hypocrisy and failed far-left policies of Joe Biden and the Democrat Party."

The video that was posted showed a side-by-side look at 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and U.S. President Joe Biden.

The clip begins with Clinton speaking on the left side of the frame and Biden freeze-framed in black and white on the right side. Clinton says, "I don't feel no ways tired. I've come too far from where I started from. Nobody told me that the road would be easy. I don't believe He brought me this far to leave me."

Next, Biden begins to speak and Clinton is freeze-framed in black and white. Biden says, "We've come too far from where we've started. Nobody told me the road would be easy. I don't believe He brought me this far to leave me. My fellow Americans, I don't think the good Lord brought us this far to leave us behind."

While the post from the RNC Research account on X did not explicitly say that Biden had stolen these lines from Clinton's speech, all signs pointed to that being the implication. Vaguely written post captions like the one featured above the video allows the person or people who started the rumor the wiggle room needed to later be able to say that the interpretation from the majority of the users who posted replies was not their original intention.

Speaking of the majority of the users who replied, we found a seemingly endless number of users who responded to the post and made references to Biden having "plagiarized" a past Clinton speech. However, these users were misinformed by the post.

The truth was that both Clinton and Biden were simply reciting an old hymn that was popularized in the 1970s by gospel musician James Cleveland. That hymn is titled, "I Don't Feel No Ways Tired." This fact was pointed out in a Community Note that was displayed under the post.

The video of Clinton was recorded on March 4, 2007, when she spoke in commemoration of "Bloody Sunday" at First Baptist Church in Selma, Alabama, according to C-SPAN.org.

The clip of Biden was from Jan. 8, 2024, when he spoke at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina – the site where white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine Black church members in a mass shooting in 2015.

Just two seconds before Biden's remarks began in the edited video that was posted by the RNC Research account on X, he had introduced the lyrics and said they were from a gospel song. The fact that those two seconds of context were omitted from RNC Research's edited video on X was unhelpful to the account's followers, to say the very least. The unedited moment can be watched at the 31:57 mark in this YouTube video:

Not only did the @RNCResearch account misleadingly imply that Biden had lifted Clinton's remarks, but the post also stated the incorrect number of years. The two videos were recorded nearly 17 years apart, not "15 years apart."

Sources

Balsamo, Michael, and James Martinez. “Church Shooter Dylann Roof Staged Death Row Hunger Strike.” The Associated Press, 25 Feb. 2020, https://apnews.com/article/9d57d87b78b459dee512d65d21a01d2f.

“Campaign 2008: Civil Rights Issues, Senator Hilary Clinton Spoke as Part of a Commemoration of ‘Bloody Sunday.’” C-SPAN, 4 Mar. 2007, https://www.c-span.org/video/?196941-1/civil-rights-issues.

Costa, Robert, et al. “Suspect Captured in Deadly Shooting at Black Church in South Carolina.” The Washington Post, 10 Apr. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/victims-named-in-charleston-church-shooting/2015/06/18/3f9ba002-15ea-11e5-89f3-61410da94eb1_story.html.

Iati, Marisa. “Biden, at Black Church, Says Republicans Are ‘Trying to Steal History.’” The Washington Post, 9 Jan. 2024, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/01/08/biden-mother-emanuel-charleston/.

“James Cleveland - I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired Lyrics.” Lyrics.Com, https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/1172753/James+Cleveland/I+Don’t+Feel+No+Ways+Tired.

“Selma March | Date, Route, Bloody Sunday, & Facts.” Britannica.Com, https://www.britannica.com/event/Selma-March.

“WATCH: Biden Campaign Speech at S.C. Church Where Black Congregants Were Killed in Racist Attack.” YouTube, PBS NewsHour, 8 Jan. 2024, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2D_jrbqT14.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.