Obama addresses plagiarism charge

February 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Senator Barack Obama admitted during a press conference in Niles, Ohio that he probably should have given credit to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick when he used his words at a speech on Saturday night in Wisconsin.Obama confessed he should have given credit to Patrick and said he usually gives credit when quoting people or using ideas, but he insisted that he is friends with Patrick.

"Deval and I do talk ideas all the time," Obama said.

But the Illinois senator then turned his focus on Sen. Hillary Clinton, suggesting the New York senator uses his words without his approval. "Senator Clinton has used mine as well," he said, citing "fired up and ready to go," as examples.

The Clinton campaign today held a conference call with reporters to highlight charges that Obama's speech this weekend had a striking similarity to a speech given by Gov. Deval Patrick, D-MA in 2006.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe held a conference call with reporters today that was meant to be dedicated to tomorrow's primary in Wisconsin, but instead focused on the controversy and little else.

In Saturday's speech at the Wisconsin Jefferson Jackson dinner Obama shot back at his critics' charges that his campaign is about words, not action. "Don't tell me words don't matter! 'I have a dream', just words? 'We hold these truths to be self evident that all me are created equal' - just words? 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself?' - just words? Just speeches?"

Plouffe tried to explain away the similarities in those remarks to the 2006 Deval Patrick speech by pointing out that the Governor and Obama are friends, and they often share thoughts and words in speeches.

Plouffe then tried to turn the argument to Obama's opponent. He argued that Clinton is not in a position to be outraged about plagiarism. This is a "curious charge coming from Senator Clinton when she has actually repeatedly throughout the campaign used the language Senator Obama has used."

Plouffe charged several instances when he says "Senator Obama's language has been copied by the Clinton campaign."

When reporters asked for specific examples, Plouffe said they would be provided.

Obama campaign national press secretary Bill Burton soon sent reporters an email with Clinton quotes that he argued were copied from Obama.

Those phrases include: "Fired up and ready to Go", "Bring our country together," "Yes we can," "We've got to turn the page on George Bush and Dick Cheney," and "Turn the Page."


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