plagiarism: the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own.
The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes
At last, at last, at last. Finally, something to nail Obama on. Couldn't nail him on change, given that's job one for the next president. Couldn't nail him on hope, since that's a crucial element of the human psyche if we all don't want to kill ourselves. Couldn't nail him on being Rezko's bagman, since he didn't do any work for him. Really couldn't nail him on a damn thing other than being just too eloquent and persuasive a speak to risk making President.
Except he's not! He's a cheat, a liar, a fraud! He stole his friend's words, took his very words and uttered them without quotemarks, footnotes or a pause in the rhetoric to say "...as my good friend Gov Deval Patrick said". Nope, he just took the words and said them and pretended they were his own. That's plagiarism, my friends. That's the proof we've been looking for that he's dirty and corrupt and unworthy of the highest office in the land.
Except, um, well, how would Jon Stewart put this?
It's not f***ing true!
The Clinton campaign is desperate for anything at all. Had Sasha Obama been found to have a skinned knee after playtime, they'd probably be on about what a rotten father he is. (Can we be sure, speculates Mark Penn, that a cocaine flashback didn't cause him to trip her and steal her cookie?) But to this point nothing they've tossed at Obama has stuck. Accusing him of plotting for the presidency since kindergarten kind of backfired on them, as did having Pres Bill mock him on national tv. So you can understand why Clinton campaign advisor Howard Wolfson was so gleeful that they had something — at last! — on tape.
Obama plagiarizing Patrick. Gotcha!
Got dick. Turns out Deval Patrick, for one, doesn't think his friend stole a thing. ABC.com's Jake Tapper, who normally delights in mocking Obama, writes:
Since last year, observers have been noting that rhetorical similarities between the two candidates with vaguely similar biographies and campaign pitches — who also share political guru David Axelrod.
"It's a handoff," Axelrod explains in an email. "They're friends and allies. They share a view of politics and often riff off of each other." (emphasis added)
By the way, did anyone also mention that Obama does not write many of his own speeches? He employs ... a speechwriter! He actually pays someone — a white man, too, of all things — to write words that he later speaks — without calling the speechwriter to the stage for acknowledgement! Has he no shame?
The shamelessness, of course, resides in the Clinton camp. Bob Cesca pretty much illustrated the nothingness of this non-controversy by citing Clinton's "plagiarisms:"
Here's a major problem for Senator Clinton's campaign if her staff and surrogates really want to engage in this so-called "plagiarism" debate. At the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, Senator Clinton employed what's called "anaphora" — a common technique of repeating a word or phrase for emphasis in a speech:
I see an America where we stand up to the oil companies...
I see an America where we say that 47 million people uninsured...
I see an America where we have schools worthy...
I see an America where college is affordable again...
And so forth. It was a seriously awesome section of her Jefferson-Jackson speech. It's a shame that (again, as long as the gloves are off and there has to be this ridiculous "plagiarism" debate) she lifted the "I see an America" anaphora from other politicians, including then-Governor Jimmy Carter. June, 1976:I see an America poised not only at the brink of a new century, but at the dawn of a new era of honest, compassionate, responsive government.
I see an America with a tax system that does not steal from the poor and give to the rich.
I see an America with a job for every man and woman who can work, and a decent standard of living for those who cannot.
I see an America in which my child and your child and every child receives an education second to none in the world.
I see an America in which Martin Luther King's dream is our national dream.
I see an America on the move again, united, its wounds healed, its head high, a diverse and vital nation, moving into its third century with confidence and competence and compassion, an America that lives up to the majesty of its Constitution and the simple decency of its people.
I also discovered that the "I see an America" line has been used by Congressman Kucinich:I see an America where equal access and equal rights are obtained by all.
And John Edwards with the "I see and America" anaphora:I see an America where last year the CEO of one of the largest health insurance companies in America made hundreds of millions of dollars in one year. I see an America where ExxonMobil's profits were $40 billion just a couple of years ago. Record amounts, record profits.
Hell, a Republican running for Congress in the New York 20th named John Wallace used the "I see an America" anaphora.
And so it goes (Linda Ellerbee).
This is so embarrassing. Not as an Obama supporter; as a Democrat. This is what Hillary Clinton can scrape up for a substantive attack on the man who has pushed past her into the front-runner position? The public isn't buying the mandate problem (there isn't one; just ask Robert Reich, Bill Clinton's Secretary of Labor). But they are buying his message of getting past the ugliness of the past forty years — ugliness in which the Clintons played a major role, even if mostly as undeserving targets of hate. They have been incapable of delivering a sustained and credible attack on Obama's policy stands (which is no surprise as his are as detailed and beneficial for the country as hers), so they try to kneecap his greatest campaign advantage, the tool he has used to separate himself from her and bring his campaign to this position: his oratorical skill.
In a conference call just now the Clinton campaign would not guarantee that Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, has never used someone else's rhetoric without crediting them.
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.
As Tapper concludes, "Hmmmm".
Yup, Obama and Deval Patrick traded words and ideas. Nope, not everything he says is 100% original (please find the quote where he says it is). But there is no denying that whether it's his words, Patrick's, Dr King's, or a farm workers' slogan, Obama's message is the one American is listening to. His is the voice that speaks for more of us than anyone else's. He is the person more and more of us are deciding can lead us and unite as others have failed.
And all Hillary Clinton has to offer in response to the growing rejection of her campaign is: Liar liar, pants on fire? What the hell is she going to do when something serious happens? Stick out her tongue?
By T.A. Barnhart
Feb. 18, 2008
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