Take it to the Playground Kids

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (above, trading good stump speech lines) are at it again. Today the Clinton camp came out with an accusation that Senator Obama has plagiarized some words of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. Patrick is a staunch supporter of Obama and has downplayed the incident:

Senator Obama and I are long-time friends and allies. We often share ideas about politics, policy and language. The argument in question, on the value of words in the public square, is one about which he and I have spoken frequently before. Given the recent attacks from Senator Clinton, I applaud him responding in just the way he did.

Seeing as Patrick has authorized the use of those words, it actually isn’t plagiarism at all. The New York Times also weighed in on Patrick’s place in all of this:

Mr. Patrick said he told Mr. Obama that he should respond to the criticism, and he shared language from his campaign with Mr. Obama’s speechwriters.

Mr. Patrick said he did not believe Mr. Obama should give him credit.

“Who knows who I am? The point is more important than whose argument it is,” said Mr. Patrick, who telephoned The New York Times at the request of the Obama campaign. “It’s a transcendent argument.”

Obama’s quote in question is below:

Don’t tell me words don’t matter! ‘I have a dream.’ Just words. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ Just words. ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ Just words, just speeches!

And Patrick’s:

Her dismissive point, and I hear it a lot from her staff, is all I have to offer is words. Just words. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’ — just words. Just words. ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself’ — just words. ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country’ — just words. ‘I have a dream’ — just words.

Obama played down the incident today in Ohio:

[Patrick] has occasionally used lines of mine. I have occasionally used some words of his. I know Sen. Clinton has used words of mine as well. I don’t think that is something that workers here are concerned about. I really don’t think this is too big of a deal.

Senator Obama however did admit he should have credited Patrick. In regards to the accusation that Clinton has plagiarised Obama, the following is from a speech Hillary gave in Iowa:

We have seen thousands and thousands of Iowans over the last week and we are fired up and we are ready to go because we know America is ready for change and the process starts right here in Iowa

Oh boo-hoo everyone. Of course not every word everyone says is original. These kids need to stop the back and forth bickering and consider beginning to talk about issues. They both have everyone listening, now let’s see what they have to offer.

An Obama Refrain Bears Echoes of a Governor’s Speeches – [New York Times]
Nasty Clinton-Obama Fight Descends To “Plagiarism” Accusations – [Huffington Post]
Similar Obama, Patrick speeches scrutinized – [CNN]
Obama, Clinton camps point to ‘borrowed rhetoric’ – [CNN]

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6 Responses

  1. yeah i think the clinton camp is overhyping this a little bit.

    you never heard her talking about change until obama did.

  2. If this is the worst dirt she can throw at him, well, it’s easy to see why I support Obama.

  3. It’s kind of ironic. Clinton was accusing him of being an empty suit- just a bunch of words, and Obama responds by stealing someone else’s lines. He kinda proved her point.

  4. Jim – I’d like to remind you that Patrick told Obama to use his words, he didn’t steal them

  5. He should have credited Patrick but in today’s politics, it is not easy to come up stuff that is truly original. A bit embarassing for him, no doubt, but does anyone outside of acedemia really care?

    In response to Kyle:
    Obama is not the first candidate ever to use “Change” to describe what he wants to do and he won’t be the last.

  6. understandable and true, but i would argue he was the first to use it in this election cycle before everyone else jumped on board.

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