Clinton campaign accuses Obama of plagiarism

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Illinois Senator Barack Obama is not troubled by accusations he plagiarised portions of a recent speech from Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

Hillary Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson accused Obama of unabashed plagiarism in using Patrick’s words without credit and said his actions “raises questions about the premise of his candidacy.”

The latest brouhaha between the Obama and Clinton campaigns emerged over a recent speech Obama gave to a crowd of Democratic supporters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Several key passages in the speech bore striking similarities to a speech given by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick in 2006.

During the rally in Milwaukee, Obama defended his passionate speechmaking by saying:

“The most important thing we can do right now is to re-engage the American people in the process of governance and get them excited again… 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?”

Obama’s words are a near echo of a passage spoken by Patrick during his 2006 campaign for Governor of Massachusetts.

In a speech defending his stylish way of speaking, Patrick said:

“‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ 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?”

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson attacked Obama for using phrases from Patrick’s speech nearly verbatim.

“It raises questions about the premise of his candidacy,” Wolfson said in a press conference call, according to the Associated Press.

“Senator Obama is running on the strength of his rhetoric and the strength of his promises,” Wolfson said, according to

“And as we have seen in the last couple of days, he’s breaking his promises and his rhetoric isn’t his own.”

Obama, however, did not appear concerned about the accusations he had plagiarised from Patrick.

“Deval and I do trade ideas all the time,” Obama said, according to

“He’s occasionally used lines of mine, and I at a JJ dinner in Wisconsin used some words of his,” he stated.

However, Obama did acknowledge that perhaps he should have given Patrick credit for the phrases he used.

“I was on the stump and he had suggested we use these lines. I thought they were good lines. I’m sure I should have. Didn’t this time,” Obama said.

“I really don’t think this is too big of a deal,” Obama added, noting that Hillary Clinton had sometimes used phrases take from his campaign speeches, such as “it’s time to turn the page” and “fired up, ready to go.”

“Senator Obama and I are long-time friends and allies,” Patrick said in a statement to the press, according to

“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.”

Ann Turner © 2007; All Rights Reserved.