Obama Accused Of Plagiarism In Speech

This story was written by Solly Kane, The Daily Cardinal
Presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has come under scrutiny for a speech he gave Saturday in Milwaukee and its similarities to a speech by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

The website www.youtube.com has a video showing the similarities of the two speeches, and both campaigns, Obama's and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton's, D-N.Y., have responded to the accusations of plagiarism.

Obama's speech Saturday sounded similar to a speech given by Patrick in his 2006 campaign for governor, according to the video.

"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 said in his speech.

Patrick used many of the same phrases in his speech.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal'-just words. Just words. 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself'-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," Patrick said in 2006.

Patrick said in a statement he and Obama are friends, and said the allegations were just attacks by Clinton. Patrick announced his endorsement Obama in October 2007.

Howard Wolfson, Clinton campaign communications director, said in a conference call with reporters that the speech hurts Obama's credibility. Dan Leistikow, Obama's Wisconsin campaign spokesperson, said in an e-mail Patrick and Obama often share strategies. According to Leistikow, Clinton has borrowed Obama campaign phrases.

"It's a curious charge coming from Senator Clinton, who actually has used Senator Obama's language herself," Leistikow said.

UW-Madison professor of political science Charles Franklin said he predicted the controversy would not have an impact on Tuesday's Wisconsin primary.

Franklin said accusations of plagiarism in the past have hurt other campaigns, namely U.S. Sen. Joe Biden's, D-Del., 1988 presidential bid.

"The difference was, the Biden case came up very early in the process while people, and more importantly the press, were still forming their opinions about him as a candidate," Franklin said.
© 2008 The Daily Cardinal via U-WIRE
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