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Milpitas Mayor Lifts Phrases From Obama's Inauguration Speech

MILPITAS (KPIX 5) -- The new mayor of Milpitas admits to plagiarizing parts of President Barack Obama's 2008 presidential acceptance speech.

Milpitas's newly-elected Mayor Richard Tran doesn't call it plagiarism, but when asked "Is this a case of plagiarism?" he responds, "Oh absolutely, there are places in the speech that are word for word. I'm not denying that."

But from the first words he spoke at his city hall inauguration, it's nearly a straight lift from President Obama's 2008 victory speech.

Eight years later and the words are still as powerful.

Mayor Richard Tran said he was inspired.

"I didn't do it to copy it. To me it's very obvious. For me it was a special opportunity to carry out Obama's legacy."

At 31, Tran calls himself the youngest mayor in the Bay Area, he's also an Air Force reservist and is a full-time medical social worker with Santa Clara County.

"They're cut from the same stone."

Former Milpitas City Councilmember Debbie Indihar Giordano was defeated by Tran in the race for mayor, but she downplayed the incident.

"I don't think an apology needs to be given, it's just recognized that this is not the appropriate way to give a speech unless you give credit to the person you are quoting. But I think we can move on from here. I don't see it to be a problem," Giordano said.

But that's just it, Tran refused to say he erred by not crediting Obama's speech.

"I'm not going to say I made a mistake because I'm proud of what I did. If I could go back in time Len, I would do the same thing," Tran said.

"It was built by hard working people who gave $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause," he said.

Tran admitted though that as a first time public official he has a lot to learn.

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