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Politics & Power

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Plagiarism or Innocent Omission?

This week the Hillary Clinton campaign accused Illinois Senator, and rival for the Democratic nomination for President, Barack Obama of committing plagiarism in a speech where he used the words of his long-time friend and colleague Deval Patrick from a 2006 speech. The segment of Patrick’s speech questioned the validity of accusations against him similar to those leveled by Clinton against Obama that he was all talk and no action. It cited speeches by JFK, Martin Luther King Jr., Franklin Roosevelt and others demonstrating that great words were more than just words.

Countering the charges by the Clinton campaign Governor Patrick called the charges unfair. In an interview for ABC’s Good Morning America, Patrick said that Obama was being unfairly characterized as a plagiarist. "It's not like he's writing a law review article or a book. He should have credited me two words," With Patrick weighing in on the issue on the side of Obama it seems that the charges may lose a significant amount of impact. It was also noted by some campaign observers that Obama had given credit for Patrick’s words in previous speeches.

Obama who is the author of two books and numerous speeches is a capable writer who himself is often quoted by others. Governor Patrick in defending Obama noted that words do matter and it is the power of those words that have the lasting impact. Patrick went on to say that he felt Obama was a candidate about more than words and that it was the ideas behind the words that mattered. When asked Governor Patrick also said that if the quote had been made by Clinton without giving credit that he would be as forgiving for the omission of credit because they were good words. As the interview closed Patrick even went so far as to say that Obama used the words “I asked him to use”.

To the casual observer it was clear from the interview that Patrick held no ill will toward Obama for the omission and that his support for Obama in the race for the Democratic nomination had not wavered. He expressed disappointment in the state of the race that it had degenerated to such charges being the meat of the debate. He compared the race to his own successful 2006 bid for the governorship of Massachusetts in which he faced similar charges of being all talk that led to the speech quoted by Obama in his Wisconsin speech.

During the interview with Diane Sawyer, Senator Clinton was quoted as saying "If your whole candidacy is about words, they should be your words." In response Patrick indicated his opinion about the speciousness of the Clinton charges that the campaign is all talk when he pointed out that Obama has more legislative experience than Clinton making him more than a man of "just words". Some pundits have posited that charges of this nature by the Clinton camp may be indicative of a level of desperation brought about by losses in eight straight primaries and a significant disadvantage in fundraising over the last two months.

Whether the charges indicate genuine outrage over plagiarism or are simply political maneuvering it seems from most polls that they will have little impact on the voters. With Wisconsin and Hawaii going solidly for Obama in the latest round of primaries it seems the Clinton campaign did not sway voters away from Obama with the charges. The Obama camp having responded quickly accepting responsibility for the omission and with the public support of Governor Patrick on the issue; should be able to move on and continue to focus on the races ahead in Ohio and Texas that could determine who becomes the Democratic nominee for the November presidential election.

In the meantime, Hillary Clinton must face her supporters with a string of ten straight primary and caucus losses to Obama and convince them to stand firm and continue the fight for the White House. Fundraising that has been lagging behind Obama will likely not be helped by the long streak of primary losses and campaign strategies that are not improving her numbers at the polls. It will remain to be seen if Mrs. Clinton can salvage her campaign in Texas and Ohio but there is no doubt that March 4th will have a significant impact on the viability of her campaign leading up to the Democratic National Convention in Denver this August.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article.





Get Involved

Do you sit and yell at the TV when politicians come on? Do you shake your head sadly whenever you see a homeless veteran? Is that all you tend to do?

It's time to put up or shut up America. We all love to talk about how we could do things better or how we would do it if we were in charge. Well, it's time to put your money where your mouth is. If you can think of it, you can write it down. If you can write it down, you can type it. If you can type it, you can e-mail it and if you can e-mail it, you can send it here.

We at Reform America are committed to giving voice to anyone who wants to put their ideas out there to make our nation a better place. As the readership grows, we are able to take those views to a wider and wider audience. Grassroots campaigns begin with voices speaking out. You have opinions. Voice them. We aren't about conservative or liberal. We aren't about pro-this or anti-that. We're about Americans and the First Amendment. Reform America is about politics by, for and of the people. You are the people. You only need to speak up. America is listening. Send your article to: stories@reform-america.net



Have You Been Downsized Due to Outsourcing?

For several years now we have listened to some within the business community tell us that America can't compete on a global scale unless they send our jobs overseas where they can be done cheaper. The question becomes, if we don't have good paying jobs here, how can we sustain our own economy? We want to hear from you. Have you lost your job? Have you been forced into a lower wage job due to outsourcing? Has outsourcing been a success for you? Did you end up in a better job?

Tell us your story so we can make sure the politicians see how outsourcing really impacts the workers who are backbone of America. Send your story to stories@reform-america.net

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