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Obama plagiarizes speech?

Did Barack Obama plagiarize a speech made by Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick? A YouTube video points out some "similarities". Coincidence? Decide for yourself:


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Comments (39)

There are only so many ways... (Below threshold)

There are only so many ways to avoid saying anything substantive.

Isn't Patrick still Governo... (Below threshold)

Isn't Patrick still Governor in MA?

Yep, thanks Eddie, had a bi... (Below threshold)

Yep, thanks Eddie, had a bit of a blonde moment! ;)

Another non story, as repor... (Below threshold)

Another non story, as reported by the WAPO:
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."

Correction that was from th... (Below threshold)

Correction that was from the NY Times

Although it pains me to say... (Below threshold)

Although it pains me to say so, Barney is correct. Numerous outlets are reporting that Gov. Patrick takes no issue with this - he and the Senator are friends.

Maybe Mr. Patrick should ru... (Below threshold)

Maybe Mr. Patrick should run for the office?

<a href="http://www.captain... (Below threshold)

Captain Ed ain't buying the plagiarism charge, and he's right.

After six paragraphs of drawing lines between the speeches, Jeff Zeleny then undermines the entire argument by reporting on how Obama got the theme in the first place. Patrick has counseled Obama on how to counter the experience argument, as Patrick had to face it in his race in 2006. Patrick put his speechwriters in touch with Obama's team to develop the same themes in his stump speeches after consultations last week.


Put simply, it's nonsense. It is, however, an indication of how desperate Hillary has become to derail Obama. The supposed victim, Patrick, has already issued a statement hotly criticizing Hillary's campaign for this attack. That should answer the question rather neatly, and call into question why Team Hillary would have launched this attack without securing the support of Patrick for the faux outrage.

From a commenter on "Hot Ai... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

From a commenter on "Hot Air"
Regardless of who Obama is copying his speeches from -- with permission or not -- the troubling thing is that he equates his empty rhetoric with the eloquent, history making speeches of FDR, JFK and MLK and his trained dolphin sycophants cheer like crazy when they should be doubled over in laughter.

So true. Obama is an empty suit who cannot be honest about who he is and his extremist liberal agenda. Bunyan is right that spin (ie. lying) is a job requirement for leftist politician like Obama. His campaign is the audacity of ignorance. His supporters cannot even be honest about his extremist liberal agenda. They have to hide behind "change" and "hope" as empty spinning slogans.

This is exactly the kind of... (Below threshold)

This is exactly the kind of petulant and shallow rubbish one expects in a campaign involving Bill and Hillary Clinton. Their straight-faced nerve never ceases to amaze. Since the charges the Clintons level against Obama are virtually identical to the tact taken by Patrick's rival in 2006, it only makes sense that the two would share notes. These are political sound-bytes we're talking about here, not a Pulitzer-nominated novel or proprietary software codes.

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.

It's not plagiarism per say... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

It's not plagiarism per say, but it's not original by any stretch. It's just an empty suit parroting someone else's over stretched argument. I'm sure there are far more counter examples of famous or infamous words that turned out to be just empty words.

Patrick and his speechwrite... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Patrick and his speechwriters are advising and helping Obama's campaign as is Ted Sorenson, JFK's major speechwriter. That is what they are supposed to be doing.

This charge seem very ironic since of the three remaining serious candidates for the presidency Obama is the only candidate to have actually written his own books. Here is a little background.

Candidates routinely pretend that they've written campaign documents actually penned by hired hands. But they fool no one, and the widespread dissembling causes little comment. Once, when John F. Kennedy won a Pulitzer Prize for the team-crafted Profiles in Courage, his reliance on collaborators at least generated a frisson of scandal. Today, controversy erupts only if you're imprudent enough to get into a public row with your helpers, as Hillary Clinton did with Barbara Feinman, her hired pen on the best-selling 'It Takes a Village'. Otherwise, the phenomenon induces at most a yawn: after all, if speechwriters occupy their own corridor of the Old Executive Office Building, why should ghostwriters be consigned to obscurity? A few candidates, charitably, give their writers a credit, perhaps using the euphemistic "with," as John McCain does in signaling readers that his aide Mark Salter has wordsmithed his books, while a few ghosts achieve celebrity on their own. (William Novak, amanuensis to Nancy Reagan and Tip O'Neill among others, enjoyed this status for a while.) Typically, however, the true author's name lies hidden, Waldo-like, in the acknowledgments.
I have been saying ... (Below threshold)
Chris Custer:

I have been saying this for a long time, Obama's authenticity is highly questionable. It is a big of an ugly irony that while Obama attests that his campaign is not just about lofty rhetoric, he is yet using the same lofty rhetoric from another politician. Barack does not write his own speeches, he performs them. He performs the speeches quite well, well enough to pack in the crowds, but he does not write anything he says. Usually, his main speech writer (who is incidientally is the young 26 year old white man Jon Favreau) often lifts various passages the straight out of the speeches spoken during the 60's civil rights era. If that is all Obama has going for him, just a performance, hwo can we truly expect him to bring about change?

The bottom line is that the... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

The bottom line is that the left cannot be honest about who they are and their extremist liberal agenda. That 's why they need to go for "performance artists" like Bill Clinton and Obama. They are all excited about Obama because he doesn't have personal baggage like Bill. Moreover, Obama is more extremist than even Bill and Hillary.

I teach Writing and Speech ... (Below threshold)

I teach Writing and Speech and that WAS plagiarism. When you can type in what someone says/writes and find it--by someone else word for or nearly word for word--on the internet, it is stealing if you do not credit your source.

I think this is Obama PROVING he has no substance to his slogans. When pressed for more than just slogans, cheers, and Hallmark-style inspirational lines, he has to resort to "borrowing" the text written by a friend. Is this what an Obama presidency would be? Kind of like having a ventriloquist dummy heading up the country (and we have one right now--do we need another one!?).

Face it, he is just a bag of hot, nasty air.

Wrote his OWN book?! Yeah--like shows what you know about publishing. I am SURE he sat down each night and composed the entire thing all alone and never had a ghost writer or editorial assitant clean up his act--OR provide him with " shared ideas"
The guy is a BIG FAKE JOKE.

I happen to think Obama is ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I happen to think Obama is far more genuine than most politicians or major political figures, many of whom borrow liberally from others without attribution. We're celebrating Washington's birthday today but Washington routinely had correspondence and speeches written for him by his aide de camp and personal secretary Alexander Hamilton. And "I have a dream" Dr.Martin Luther King had some serious issues with plagirism.

We live in fictitious times... (Below threshold)
Jason Author Profile Page:

We live in fictitious times with fictitious candidates giving fictitious speeches.

(Admittedly borrowed from Michael Moore, but with no apologies.)

So much for Obama's authent... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

So much for Obama's authenticity. No surprised that Obama 's supporters cannot be honest either!

When Is Participating "Not Participating?"

Also from another commenter at Hot Air

Besides, the thought that MLK, JFK, et al were merely saying "just words" is ridiculous on its face (and somewhat offensive). ---------------------------- amkun on February 18, 2008 at 9:31 AM The problem with this is Obama and Patrick were being criticized for THEIR words, and now they try to turn this around with others words. Neither of these men have ownership of those words. It is offensive to MLK, JFK, et al that Patrick and Obama would drag these words out and try to take ownership to cover their empty rhetoric.

And this is so cute. It sou... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

And this is so cute. It sounds like parody. An Obama supporter (Susan Sarandon) couldn't figure out what Obama stands for besides "hope" and "change".

Sarandon: Obama's Like A Pregnant Woman at an Abortion Rally

So I think he definitely has convinced people that he stands for change and for hope, and I can't wait to see what he stands for.

"...and I can't wait to ... (Below threshold)

"...and I can't wait to see what he stands for."

Yes, this does read like a parody. The non-parody is a lot worse, though, because so many others are saying the same thing. It's almost tempting to wonder if he's being paid to "throw" the race.

So when the teacher finds o... (Below threshold)

So when the teacher finds out that your friend, not you, did your homework, it makes it ok because your friend wanted to do it?

Sorry to let everyone know,... (Below threshold)
come on, people:

Sorry to let everyone know, but if you think Hillary, McCain, Huckabee (or any other political candidates of all time) write their own speeches, you are sadly mistaken.  The question is, what speeches do you approve, help craft..what is the message and how do you deliver it.  Obama actually writes more of his speeches than most, but not all.  He has also written two wonderful books.  The funny thing is, Obama was attacked by Hillary with the same exact language that Patrick's opponent attacked him with...is that plagerism?  If two-three words in a row count as plagerism, how does "fired up and ready to go" and "Yes we can/will" measure up, when Hillary adopts those in her most recent stumps?  Obama and Patrick are longtime friends,  they have worked with each others campaigns and have shared speechwriters and strategists.  They both found themselves having to make the same exact point...and that is obviously the best way to make it.  In addition, the controversial point accounted to about one minute of a 40 minute speech, which roused several standing ovations.  In contrast, Hillary garnered mere polite applause from the same audience.  The fact is, Barack Obama is running on more than just words.  His policies are just as comprehensive as Hillary's.  In fact, one of the main policy initiative she's supporting on the stump (no tax breaks for companies that ship jobs oversees) is a bill that Obama co-authored (not Hillary).  I have respect for Hillary, but her panicked attacks of Obama are unfounded.  His policy substance is equal to hers, as those who research the issue find out.  However, his ability to inspire Americans and others with the way he presents is the difference between them that will enable him to be a more effective LEADER than Hillary.  Don't buy the hype of a panicked campaign...do your own research, make your own decision.

Yes, Obama 's record is not... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

Yes, Obama 's record is not pretty for America (and Israel). No wonder the left is so excited about it.


1. He plagiarizes his speeches ("Words, words, words.")

2. His volunteers hang memorials to totalitarian mass murderers.

3. His foreign policy guru travels to Syria to kibitz with murderous fascists.

4. He flip-flops on public financing.

5. He's wavering on his Iraq withdrawal plan.

His defense of "just words,... (Below threshold)

His defense of "just words," is still just that, no matter who he quotes or where they came from.

They do no more to tell the country where he would take it than if he had recited The Jabberwocky.

And his borrowing from Deval Patrick does nothing to disabuse critics'observations that they're empty words at that.

I'd bet that Mr. Obama is g... (Below threshold)

I'd bet that Mr. Obama is glad that his wife only spoke 'just words'. It's not like they were some kind of window into her soul...

Well Obama may as well get ... (Below threshold)

Well Obama may as well get ready, more affronts and assertions are going to be had. example: what message, what policies? So he might as well get ready for them. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.....get him Hillary....the fight is on!

THIS does it for me!... (Below threshold)

THIS does it for me! If Hillary, SOMEHOW, gets the Dem nomination, I( a life-long Democrat) for the first time in my life will not be voting for a Democrat for President. Hillary Clinton INSULTS the intelligence of the American voter!!!!

I head some clips earlier a... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

I head some clips earlier and they both are just martin luther king quotes. I didn't know it was plagiarism to quote a famous person that has no doubtedly been quoted before.

Which brings me to my next point of this being another dirty lousy Clinton stunt. Instead of trying to defend Obama against plagiarism, you libs should be trying to defend the Clintons! At least that way you guys would be consistent in always sticking up for the liars and the cheaters of the world.

Obama's new slogan should be "You can't lie if you don't say anything!"

Hillary has been borrowing ... (Below threshold)

Hillary has been borrowing from Obama's rhetoric in recent weeks ("Yes We Will" sounds an awful lot like "Yes We Can" for example). The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Sadly, it only shows that O... (Below threshold)

Sadly, it only shows that Obama's imagination is so limited that he repeated the words of another almost verbatim. The very concept that Patrick put forward in his speech was maybe not even in his own words, but Obama couldn't even grasp that concept firmly enough to put it in *his* own words.

And by the way, what would ... (Below threshold)

And by the way, what would Barney know about plagiarism anyway? Barney, the master of cut and paste with no attribution.

Oh crap! Fell out of my chair again....

The issue here is not wheth... (Below threshold)

The issue here is not whether he broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with other politicians' speeches - he did. [wink]

But you can't hold a candidate responsible for the behavior of a few plagiarizing speechwriters. For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole political campaign system? And if the whole political campaign system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our elections in general? I put it to you, isn't this an indictment of our entire American government? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

If we did as some of the Ob... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

If we did as some of the Obama detractors are suggesting, the Declaration of Indepedence, and every innaugural address would have to quote references, footnotes, attributions in the main text itself, probably in every paragraph? Here is a 'the fear quote' that Obama and two Presidents perhaps should have stopped in mid speech to give a proper attribution and reference to.

Hey Fiano, did you ever try... (Below threshold)

Hey Fiano, did you ever try looking up the definition of plagiarize before misusing the word like a high school newspaper writer?

Don't worry about the "plag... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

Don't worry about the "plagiarize" stuff. You libs can spin it as much as you want. We didn't care much about how Obama use or don't use others' speech. We can leave it up to dems to engage in that cheap spin. We simply look at the issues. Looks like Obama and his supporters cannot be honest about who they are and their extremist liberal agenda. As a result, they have to hide behind empty rhetoric. That 's probably why the fell for Bill Clinton and now Obama. In the end, the liberals are probably excited about Obama because they truly share their view
Michelle Obama hasn't been proud of America in at least 26 years?

Hey dickshunary, did you no... (Below threshold)

Hey dickshunary, did you notice the question mark at the end of the post title, or are you just another illiterate drive-by?

"Michelle Obama hasn't b... (Below threshold)

"Michelle Obama hasn't been proud of America in at least 26 years?"StupidAmericaImmigrant

Hey Ignorigrant, nice misquote of M Obama's actual quote just as Hot Air did. Typical of the average ignorant Republican and likely why consevatism holds such a simplistic appeal to mental morons at home and from abroad.

dickhead, You can l... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica, Immigrant:

You can listen to the video yourself. Can't face the truth right? Truly ignorant and drive by. You are the perfect example of the audicity of ignorance. Good luck on your exam!

"Mr. Patrick said he tol... (Below threshold)

"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."

Well then, Obama needs better speechwriters if the best they can do is copy almost verbatim. Somehow I'm thinking Mr. Patrick didn't say to Obama's speechwriters, "Here's what I said in my speech, just copy it."

Yet, as far as I'm concerned, if Patrick isn't upset, why should we be? I really don't care, but I think it speaks to a larger point. These quotes, when originally used, were couched in a specific and more complex context. "I have a dream" was part of an entire speech that conveyed a complete idea.

When Obama speaks of change with only the vaguest notion of what he wants to change and how he wants to change it, we're left wondering. When Obama speaks of hope and doesn't give you any concrete evidence of what he means other than 'hope is a good thing', we're left wondering.

I don't think he even begins to understand what others mean when they say he's using empty rhetoric or 'just words'. Hell, even his supporters aren't sure what he means, what his specific plans are or how he intends to achieve them.

It's like going to see a motivational speaker and walking away feeling good, but not having anything concrete enough to actually use to achieve a specific goal.

And just for the record, would it have been so hard, or would it have detracted from the message to start with, "As my friend Deval Patrick said, ...".






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