Plagiarist Clinton Accuses Obama of Plagiarism

The latest nonsense to come out of the Clinton camp is charges of plagiarism against Obama. The charge is based upon similarities in a passage from a speech that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick used at a campaign rally in 2006. The problem with raising a charge of plagiarism is that it is only plagiarism when a line is used without permission.

Patrick has defended Obama and criticized Clinton’s campaign for this attack. Both Obama and Patrick freely admit that they share ideas. Patrick is currently an adviser to Obama. There is nothing wrong with Obama using a line with Patrick’s permission.

The other implication in this attack is that Obama is incapable of using his own words. Obama responded to this charge:

“Now hold on a second. I mean, look here, I’ve written two books. Wrote most of my speeches,” he said. “So, I think putting aside the question you just raised in terms of whether my words are my own, I think that would be carrying it too far. Deval and I do trade ideas all the time, and, you know, he’s occasionally used lines of mine. I was at a [Jefferson-Jackson] dinner in Wisconsin used some words of his. And, you know, I would add that I know Sen. Clinton on occasion has used words of mine as well.”

Obama said he frequently gives credit to others for ideas or language he has gotten from others. “I’m happy to give Deval credit, as I give to a lot of people for spurring all kinds of ideas,” he said.

While Patrick is willingly sharing ideas with Obama, Hillary Clinton has felt free to borrow words from Obama without permission.

The Obama campaign immediately struck back with a document headlined: “Here are a couple of places Clinton freely borrowed rhetoric from Obama.”

Among the examples are Clinton’s use of Obama’s signature chant “fired up and ready to go” in Davenport, Iowa, and later her echoing of his rally cry, “Yes, we can!”

A question from Jack Tapper at the Clinton conference call shows yet again how Hillary Clinton does not believe the rules apply to her:

I asked Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson and Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass, if they could assure the public that neither Clinton nor McGovern has ever done what Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, did when he used the rhetoric of Gov. Deval Patrick without footnoting him.

They would not.

In fact, Wolfson seemed to say it wouldn’t be as big a deal if it were discovered that Clinton had “lifted” such language.

“Sen. Clinton is not running on the strength of her rhetoric,” Wolfson said.

No she is not. Senator Clinton is running on the strength of whatever bogus attack she can come up with to attack Obama with every day. The Clinton campaign regularly holds conference calls such as this to feed surrogates and friendly blogs the same talking points to use to attack Obama. This is the consequence of running for president based upon claims of inevitability and false claims of having greater experience as Clinton is grasping for anything to try to convince a declining number of supporters to vote for her.

Cross posted at The Carpetbagger Report 


  1. 1
    CSB says:

    In the beginning of The War Room, D.A. Pennebaker’s documentary on the ’92 Clinton campaign, James Carville says to a room full of staff: “If we can win this, we can knock this sh** back forever”. What are the chances that an Obama win would knock the Clintons’ nonsense back forever? That would be nice.

  2. 2
    Dotty Belec says:

    Hillary is grasping at straws trying to accuse Obama of everything she possibly can.
    It shows you how afraid her camp is about the possibility of losing. How many times has people used famous lines in their conversations to make a point. And we did not credit the person who originally said it.
    This is just another tactic to distract the voters on the real issue. Who is making the most sense and more trust worthy. It is becoming more and more clear that if we elect Hillary as President, she will only be a figure head president. Her husband, Bill, will be in charge and running the show.

  3. 3
    David Drissel says:

    This sort of thing just demonstrates how desperate the Clinton campaign has become.
    What’s really amazing (and hypocritical) is that Hillary Clinton has often lifted phrases and ideas from conservative politicians without giving attribution. At least Obama is using lines from one of his top confidants/advisors, which is fully appropriate given their close relationship. As Bay Buchanan noted tonight on CNN, Hillary’s frequent use of the phrase “we’re going to take back America” was lifted straight from (Bay’s brother) Pat Buchanan’s political speeches when he was running for president in the 1990s. Moreover, Hillary’s insistence on a universal health care scheme that includes mandatory compliance for all citizens comes straight from Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts’ playbook. Before the Romney’s Massachusetts’ plan, virtually no one running for president had ever insisted that health care coverage would have to be mandatory to be universal.

  4. 4
    jules35 says:

    If this is plagiarism, then Hillary did it too.

    From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jan. 11, 2008

    “Indeed, Mrs. Clinton made some of the same arguments Sunday in New Hampshire when she defended her earnest speaking style by saying, in an indirect reference to Mr. Obama, “you campaign in poetry, you govern in prose.”

    That particular political maxim was first uttered in a 1985 speech at Yale University– by [former New York governor Mario] Cuomo.

    “She didn’t attribute it to me, although it’s in Bartlett’s Quotations and they did,” the former governor said, laughing.”

    Hillary, you throw mud, you get dirty.

  5. 5
    annevilla says:

    Clinton: Firing Blanks and (Hopefully Soon) ‘Ready to Go’

    I truly believe that history involving all of us – We the People – is about to be made: I believe in Barack Obama. Hillary is mostly involved with herself; Barack is a Uniter, who wants to empower us all.

    This latest Clinton ploy, nit-picking at the supposed ‘plagiarism of Obama’s close friend’s speech’ ploy – a friend who couldn’t care less if Obama borrows his words or not! – is merely another sign of how extremely desperate the Clintons have become.

    And trying to twist Michelle’s SENTENCE about being proud of her country for the first time in her adult life is merely an indication of how wildly successful Michelle has been: despite never even using a note card during her countless fantastic speeches, they never had a chance to lay a finger on her before, so now they pounce, or at least try to pounce, on the fact that Michelle said she never had a chance in her adult life to be proud of her country’s participation in the political process. And this charge coming from the Clinton campaign that’s always hawking that the Obama campaign deals in fluff, not substance?: as a Democrat, I feel it’s downright embarrassing; as an American it’s doubly embarrassing when you remember that the whole world is watching…

    This brilliant “OBAMA PORTRAIT MUSIC VIDEO” has been used all across the country at house parties and fundraisers – hope you enjoy it, too:



  6. 6
    kfry says:

    We’re talking politics here, people. Nobody’s running a pure campaign, including Obama. I’m calling for a full blown cease fire among liberals! Frankly, when you take aim at Hillary, you’re taking aim at ME. Look, I spent the weekend in a red county in the middle of blue state Minnesota, at the 29th annual Eel Pout festival on Leech Lake in Cass County, and met the people who think Hillary is “divisive.” One of the highlights of this supposedly family friendly fest in the middle of a family values county was the ice house decoration contest. Turns out the decorations were mostly vulgar. Call it misogyny on ice. Of course Hillary is divisive in this culture. She’d take those folks around back, wash their mouths out with soap, give ’em a whupping they wouldn’t soon forget, and make ’em put in service hours at the local homeless shelter. I blogged a little about this today. And Susan Milligan over at the Boston Globe has a great (sad) article about the steep hill ANY woman would have to climb to get elected today. I pulled the lever for Hillary because I think she’s ready for the job. I’ll vote for Obama when he gets the nod but, for real, if he was a woman – given his experience, mastery of the issues, etc. – nobody’d be taking him seriously. And that just sort of ticks me off.

    Call off the dogs.

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:


    It is Clinton who has been making these attacks so tell them to call off the dogs. I love the way that Clinton runs a dirty campaign and then her supporters get upset when we debunk all her dishonest attacks.

    As for pure campaigns–Obama vowed not to engage in the type of distortion the Clinton campaign is, and he has kept his word.

    Regarding your comparisons of the candidates, Obama has far more experience than Clinton and has demonstrated far greater mastery of the issues and judgment. In contrast, Clinton has repeatedly shown that she is not ethically fit to be president, and has shown remarkably poor judgment on the issues.

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