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Nasty Clinton-Obama Fight Descends to Plagiarism Claims

Deval Patrick gave Barack Obama some lines to use in a speech, free of charge or requirement for attribution. Obama used them. That's not a scandal.
 
 
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The Clinton campaign has a new line of attack on Barack Obama: he's a plagiarist. And it's hard to argue with the video to your right.

Pretty damning, right? Clearly, the Clinton camp has an open-and-shut case.

Well, except for one thing.

The person being plagiarized here is Deval Patrick, now the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Patrick is a strong backer of Obama, and...well, I'm sure you can see where this is heading:

In a telephone interview on Sunday, Mr. Patrick said that he and Mr. Obama first talked about the attacks from their respective rivals last summer, when Mrs. Clinton was raising questions about Mr. Obama's experience, and that they discussed them again last week.

Both men had anticipated that Mr. Obama's rhetorical strength would provide a point of criticism. Mr. Patrick said he told Mr. Obama that he should respond to the criticism, and he shared language from his campaign with Mr. Obama's speechwriters.

Mr. Patrick said he did not believe Mr. Obama should give him credit.

"Who knows who I am? The point is more important than whose argument it is," said Mr. Patrick, who telephoned The New York Times at the request of the Obama campaign. "It's a transcendent argument."

Now, plagiarism is a serious charge, and it's based on failing to attribute words properly. Obama did not, in his speech, say "As Deval Patrick said...", but then again, Deval Patrick himself told Obama to use the line, and not to worry about the credit.

That's not plagiarism. That's speechwriting.

Jeff Fecke is a regular blogger for Shakesville.

 
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