Obama Defends Use of Mass. Gov.'s Words

(CBS)
From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO -- Barack Obama visited a titanium plant in Ohio today where he spoke about job loss and the economy. However, he could not evade questions about alleged plagiarism and his speeches.

"I've written two books, wrote most of my speeches, so I think putting aside the question that you just raised in terms of whether my words are my own, I think that would be carrying it too far," Obama told a reporter at press conference in Niles.

Regarding the issue of whether or not he lifted words from one of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's speeches, Obama said the two are friends.

"Deval and I do trade ideas all the time, and he's occasionally used lines of mine and I, at a JJ dinner in Wisconsin, I used some words of his."

Obama was quick to point fingers at Hillary Clinton, who he says has used his words on the stump.

"When Senator Clinton says its time to turn the page in one of her stump speeches or says she's fired up and ready to go, I don't think that anybody suggests that somehow she's not focused on the issues that she's focused on."

Obama is campaigning in Ohio and Wisconsin today, where he has been aggressively pursing the blue collar vote. He has been touting his own economic policy and criticizing Clinton for her support of NAFTA and permanent trade relations with China.

"Now the years after her husband signed NAFTA, Senator Clinton touted the free trade agreement as First Lady and called it a victory in her book. She also supported permanent trade with China when she was running for the Senate," Obama argued.

"Now that she is running for president she says that we need a time out on trade. No one knows exactly when this time out will end, may be after the election."

Obama also spoke about his meeting with John Edwards yesterday, which he said was the first time the two met in person since Edwards suspended his campaign. Obama said Edwards is still mulling over the idea of an endorsement and that a decision is not imminent.

However, Obama emphasized that meeting with voters is more valuable to his campaign than are big endorsements.

"Right now what I think is most important is for me to make sure that I'm getting out and talking to voters and we may be getting to the stage of the campaign where endorsements are helpful," Obama said.

"But what's most helpful ultimately is that people have a sense that I will be fighting for them in the White House, that my priorities are their priorities. If they know that, then endorsements will probably have less sway."
  • Maria Gavrilovic

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