Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Obama catches flak for ?plagiarism? in address

Two days after a speech in Milwaukee, Sen. Barack Obama,
D-Ill., caught some heat Monday for similarities between part of his speech and
one given by a different candidate in 2006.

Part of Obama?s speech at Saturday?s event was meant to
combat complaints that his campaign is heavy on rhetoric and light on policy

“Don’t tell me words don’t matter,” Obama said at
the Wisconsin Democratic Party event. “‘I have a dream’ ? just words. ‘We
hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’ ? just
words. ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself’ ? just words. Just


However, in 2006, Gov. Deval Patrick gave a similar riff in
his Massachusetts campaign, coming back to the refrain ?just words,? and
quoting many of the same historically powerful lines.

Videos of both speeches are accessible on

National media reported that aides to Clinton criticized
Obama for failing to cite his source for the speech.

Obama spokesperson Dan Leistikow responded to the
controversy Monday.

?As Gov. Patrick said yesterday, Sen. Obama and he are
longtime friends and allies and often share ideas about politics and language,?
Leistikow said in an e-mail to The Badger Herald.

The Obama campaign went on to say Clinton ?actually has used
Sen. Obama?s language herself,? including the ?fired up, ready to go? slogan.

The Clinton campaign did not respond to calls and e-mail
requests for comment as of Monday night.

University of Wisconsin political science professor emeritus
Charles Jones said Obama and Patrick have faced similar political situations,
and the speech similarities don?t warrant the attention they have gotten from
the media and campaigns.

?These are good friends who support each other, they talk to
each other, they are sensitive to similar situations,? Jones said, adding he
thought the incident would have little or no effect on the remaining primaries.

He also said he doesn?t consider the incident plagiarism.

?If this is plagiarism, it certainly has gotten a lot more
restrictive than my experience, and I?ve written 25 books,? Jones said.

In 1987, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, had a more serious
encounter with charges of plagiarism after lifting a whole section of a speech
from Neal Kinnock of the British Labour Party, according to Jones.

?That hurt Biden?s reputation, that?s for certain, but he
didn?t have a chance 20 years ago, and he didn?t have a chance this year,?
Jones said.


?? Nick Penzenstadler contributed to this

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