Full articleTop advisers and supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton today accused Sen. Barack Obama of plagiarism for delivering a speech in Wisconsin that included a nearly-identical passage to one delivered two years earlier by then candidate for governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick.
"In many respects he is asking the public to judge him on the strength of his rhetoric," said Howard Wolfson, a top Clinton adviser, during a conference call with reporters today. "When we learn he has taken an important section of his speech from another elected official, it raises very
fundamental questions about his campaign."
Wolfson, who at one point used the word "plagiarism" to describe the incident, was joined on the call by Democratic Rep. James McGovern (Mass.), a supporter of both Patrick's and Clinton's. McGovern attempted to drive home the point about the two, very similar passages, by calling into question all of the speeches that comprise Obama's body of work from the stump.
"It is striking to me that it is word for word," McGovern said. "I think it says something about the origin of his rhetoric. I'm not sure if the origin of his speeches, if they're his speeches, or if they're someone else's."
Obama's campaign aides have explained the similar language as the result of Obama and Patrick's close friendship. They said the two exchange passages and ideas for speeches frequently.
The campaign also released a list of examples where Clinton "freely borrowed rhetoric" from other politicians, including from Obama. That list even included the line that Obama has made a catch phrase during his presidential bid, "Fired up and ready to go."