Stand up for facts and support PolitiFact.

Now is your chance to go on the record as supporting trusted, factual information by joining PolitiFact’s Truth Squad. Contributions or gifts to PolitiFact, which is part of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Poynter Institute, are tax deductible.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign stop at National Cattle Congress Pavilion on Feb. 1, 2020, in Waterloo, Iowa. (AP) Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign stop at National Cattle Congress Pavilion on Feb. 1, 2020, in Waterloo, Iowa. (AP)

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign stop at National Cattle Congress Pavilion on Feb. 1, 2020, in Waterloo, Iowa. (AP)

Daniel Funke
By Daniel Funke March 12, 2020

Yes, Biden did call voters a ‘damn liar,’ a ‘lying dog-faced pony soldier’ and ‘full of s---’

If Your Time is short

  • Biden said “look, fat,” “old” and “you’re a damn liar” to an Iowa man during a campaign stop when the man asked about Burisma. He also said “you’re a lying dog-faced pony soldier” to a college student in New Hampshire.
     

  • While he did say “you’re full of s--” to a Detroit factory worker in an argument about gun rights, Biden did not appear to say “I’ll slap you,” as the Facebook post claims.

President Donald Trump is known for creating pejorative nicknames for his opponents. But Joe Biden could give him a run for his money.

A popular Facebook photo of the former vice president includes several purported quotes from him. The post says the statements come from times that Biden has "attacked voters" during Democratic primary elections.

"There is something seriously wrong with Joe Biden. He is unfit for office," reads the caption from conservative Facebook page Robertson Family Values.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

(Screenshot from Facebook)

After winning big on Super Tuesday and in several state primaries March 10, Biden has emerged as the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination. He has a history of verbal gaffes on the campaign trail, so we wanted to look at each statement in the Facebook post to see if it’s accurate.

While some quotes need additional clarification, Biden did say most of them.

"‘Look, fat,’ ‘old,’ ‘you’re a damn liar’ to elderly Iowa man" 

This checks out. 

Biden said this during a campaign stop in Iowa in December. In a video depicting the event, a man confronts Biden about his son’s connection to Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.

"You’re selling access to the president just like he is," the man says in the video.

"You’re a damn liar, man," Biden responds.

Later in the exchange, Biden challenges the man to do push-ups and says "look, fat, look, here’s the deal" while addressing him. He also refers to the man as "Jack" and challenges him to an IQ test.

"‘You’re a lying dog-faced pony soldier’ to college girl"

This statement is also accurate, but it needs more context.

Biden said it during a February campaign event in New Hampshire. In a video of the event, he responds to a woman’s question about his fourth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.

Featured Fact-check

"How do you explain the performance in Iowa, and why should the voters believe that you can win the national election?" she asks.

"That’s a good question," Biden responds. "No. 1: Iowa’s a Democratic caucus. You ever been to a caucus?

The woman said yes. But Biden didn’t believe her.

"No, you haven’t. You’re a lying dog-faced pony soldier," he said.

It sounds like an attack, but the audience laughed after Biden made the joke. His campaign said the line — which Biden has used before — comes from a John Wayne movie, but it’s not clear that it does. (Email us if you know the source of the line.)

"‘You’re full of s---,’ ‘I’ll slap you,’ to a factory worker"

This quote is partially accurate.

Biden made the statement before the March 10 Michigan primary while touring a Fiat Chrysler plant in Detroit. A video of the incident shows a man confronting Biden about his stance on gun rights.

"You are actively trying to diminish our Second Amendment right and take away our guns," the man says.

"You’re full of s---," Biden responds, cutting off a person from the campaign who was trying to stop him, saying "shush." "I support the Second Amendment." Biden then said he was fine with people owning firearms, but not assault weapons or weapons that shoot "100 rounds."

What happens next is less clear.

Some media outlets first reported that Biden said, "Don't tell me that, pal, or I'm going to go out and slap you in the face." But a closer angle of the moment seems to show Biden saying "I'm going to go outside with you."

Later, Biden says: "Give me a break, man. Don’t be such a horse’s ass."

Our ruling

A Facebook post lists three times that Biden has allegedly "attacked voters this primary."

The assertion that Biden said "look, fat," "old" and "you’re a damn liar" to an Iowa man checks out. The second quote, "you’re a lying dog-faced pony soldier," is also accurate, although it was said to a college student in jest. The final claim, that Biden said "you’re full of s---" and "I’ll slap you" to a factory worker, is half right. Another angle of the confrontation does not show Biden saying, "I’ll slap you."

The Facebook post is accurate but needs clarification and additional information. We rate it Mostly True.

Our Sources

CBS News, "Joe Biden, accused of wanting to end 2nd Amendment, responds: ‘You're full of sh**,’" March 10, 2020

CNBC, "Joe Biden tells factory worker ‘you’re full of s---’ during a tense argument over guns," March 10, 2020

Facebook post, March 10, 2020

The Guardian, "'You're a damn liar': Biden lashes out at voter and seems to call him fat," Dec. 5, 2019

NBC News, "A guide to Trump's nicknames and insults about the 2020 Democratic field," April 25, 2019

Newsweek, "Joe Biden’s biggest gaffes in his 2020 campaign," Jan. 15, 2020

The New York Times, "Iowa Caucus Results 2020," accessed March 11, 2020

The New York Times, "Live Primary Election Results: Michigan, Washington and More," March 11, 2020

The New York Times, "Super Tuesday: Live Primary Election Results," March 3, 2020

Tweet, March 10, 2020

Tweet, March 10, 2020

Vox, "Biden’s ‘lying dog-faced pony soldier’ moment, explained," Feb. 10, 2020

YouTube video from CBS News, Dec. 5, 2019

YouTube video from The Guardian, Feb. 11, 2020

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Daniel Funke

Yes, Biden did call voters a ‘damn liar,’ a ‘lying dog-faced pony soldier’ and ‘full of s---’

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up