Obama/Patrick Plagiarism Debate

The Clinton campaign convened a conference call today, denouncing Obama for “lifting rhetoric” from Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick without due credit (see clip here). The argument is flimsy for a number of reasons, not excluding the one that all politicians plagiarize. Obama and Patrick are two friends who “exchange words and ideas all the time” and share the same message craftsman in David Axelrod. And, Obama’s on the record as crediting Patrick before.

The accusation is a little awkward coming from the Clinton campaign, as Hillary’s hardly in a position to criticize Obama for plagiarism. Not only did she pilfer Obama’s successful rallying lines (delivering them with considerably less panache), but she also co-opted his main message of change.

That’s not to say Obama has a monopoly on change, but Hillary adopted the “Ready for Change, Ready to Lead” slogan shortly after Obama’s stirring victory in the Iowa caucuses. Imagine the inner machinations of the Clinton campaign: Experience doesn’t seem to be working too well, Obama won Iowa because of change, time for a new message. Thus, the “ready for change” signs popping up at Hillary rallies – before those were ditched for “Solutions for America,” the name of Rudy Giuliani’s political action committee.

If Hillary wants to scold Obama for a weak case of plagiarism, that’s fine.  She should just know that her offenses are more frequent and more egregious.


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