February 22nd, 2008
02:32 PM ET
6 years ago

Clinton faces claims of borrowed language

Since her campaign leveled allegations of copying at Sen. Obama, observers have pointed out similarity between some of Sen. Clinton's language and that of her husband.
Since her campaign leveled allegations of copying at Sen. Obama, observers have pointed out similarity between some of Sen. Clinton's language and that of her husband.

(CNN) – Hillary Clinton – whose campaign has spent the past several days pointing to instances of borrowed language in the speeches of rival Barack Obama – is being accused of lifting words from one very familiar politician: her own husband, former President Bill Clinton.

During Thursday night’s CNN Democratic debate, Clinton looked to highlight occasions when lines used by Obama have resembled those delivered by his friend and adviser, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Clinton’s closing answer, which brought the audience to its feet, highlighted her personal struggles and the difficulties facing ordinary Americans: "You know, the hits I’ve taken in life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country."

Shortly after she delivered her closing remark, a reader of Joshua Micah Marshall’s Talking Points Memo Web site noted that the line seemed to bear a resemblance to one her husband was quoted as delivering during his 1992 campaign.

"The hits that I took in this election are nothing compared to the hits the people of this state and this country have been taking for a long time," her husband was quoted as saying in an article by Anna Quindlen in the New York Times in that November of that year.

Last night, Hillary Clinton also said: “You know, whatever happens, we're going to be fine. You know, we have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that we'll be able to say the same thing about the American people. And that's what this election should be about.”

The Obama campaign immediately began circulating a similar comment delivered by former presidential candidate John Edwards. “What's not at stake are any of us. All of us are going to be just fine no matter what happens in this election. But what's at stake is whether America is going to be fine,” Edwards said during a December debate in Iowa.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand


Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (384 Responses)
  1. chel

    Clinton’s last comments (while trying to mimic Obama’s inspirational kind of words) did resonate with the crowd -and with me at first- I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. My husband who is a retired Navy officer said “it’s because the veterans she says she feels sorry for are some of the same ones she sent to war in the first place.” Ahhh-there it is. Furthermore, the other feeling I had -I realized later, too- was one of familiarity -since her words were fittingly and ironically "lifted" from not only a Bill Clinton speech but from John Edward’s conceding speech weeks ago. Naturally.

    February 22, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. eldon kerns

    Hey maybe the Clintons stole the budget surplus from George Bush when they left the White House . I also hear they had a part in the death of Elvis.You know they may be behind all the disapearances of socks from the worlds dryers there has to be a reson we all have that drawer of unmatched socks

    February 22, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  3. hillary 08:

    ahhhh, another day of "leave your comment" at the political door.
    here's mine.

    you either love her, or not. But I think Hillary is the best choice, more educated, more poised and ORIGINAL solutions.

    Pennsylvania is READY to vote for her.

    February 22, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  4. Doug Allen

    I am surprised at the fools that constantly misinterpret the scence and mood at the debate last night. Hillary Clinton did not receive a standing ovation. If you recall that was the last question asked by the commentator–and she received the appropriate applause for her answer–the debate was then over which turned into everyone standing to congratulate them both on a job well done. Enough said–watch it again folks–

    Doug

    February 22, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  5. cazador

    Why is it that Obama supporters are so UGLY and bring out the worst in people.……

    February 22, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. Shame on Hillary

    Obama did not bring up the issue of using other people's words, Hillary did. It is very reasonable for him to rebut her accusations by pointing out that she has done the same thing. It is very hypocritical of Hillary to make the accusations in the first place, when she is "guilty" of the doing the same.

    The reality is that people use similar words all of the time, especially to make a point, and there is nothing wrong with that. Let's focus on the important issues instead of getting caught up in "silly season".

    February 22, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. David, Silver Spring, MD

    You can call off the dogs, but it takes a little time for them to stop barking. I think some in the Obama campaign didn't realize that Hillary had just conceded the race.

    Or maybe they just wanted to send a final reminder to HRC's people that what goes around comes around.

    February 22, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. Mary Jo in Illinois

    Mr. Obama proved that he is inauthentic, unoriginal, and hypocritical.

    February 22, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. John

    question did Hillary xerox her emotion and close speech from John Edwards????????????????????????

    February 22, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. Pat Shepard

    Plaigarism isn't a big deal to me. Being a hypocrite is. Obama is completely in the right for showing her to be a hypocrite. That's the reason to care about her plaigarism, not the plaigarism itself.

    February 22, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. eibreh3

    It's just politics...Although, Hillary make a nice, although subtle concession at the end of the debate. She's smart and can read the writing on the proverbial wall. Bill out begging for votes just won' cut it this time...Clintons, Bush, Bush, Clinton? Enough already!!!

    OBAMA 08 !!!

    February 22, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. Susan, Atlanta, GA

    Touche! Got ya, Hillary!

    February 22, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. James in WA

    Give me a break! Will the media and the not acknowledge that Sen. Clinton recieved the only standing ovation of the night. It was not for both of them. Her campaign has spoken the solutions for America. She is not only a woman, but a fighter. She has been speaking these words for the last year. Sen. Obama has not used the term "Universal Health Care" untill recently. Is he joining the bandwagon? Take her words as soulutions and nothing else. She speaks the truth, for you and for me. Sen. Clinton has the know how and drive to lead this country for the next 8 years.

    Hillary '08

    February 22, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. Robert Bauer

    Oh c'mon people. This arguement shouldn't even be on the radar screen. The primary season is over – Obama has won, and there's no amount of temper tantrums that will change that. Stick a fork in Hillary – she's done.

    February 22, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  15. Michael Turner Dallas, Texas

    This is another example of how Obama is two faced and does not really back up what he says. Last night he says lets focus on issues and not comments that are made that might or might not have been borrowed, and then today he is doing the opposite of what he said.

    Also, what an ego to say "I have to admit some of the speaches are good" I mean dont get me wrong I love it when he says it should not be Red and Blue states but the United States. But once again if that is really what he believes and his movement is about change, why is he a Democrat rather than just an American. We have seen no proof in anything but him saying what we all would like to hear. I mean really come on the people becoming more involved in the government, are we really going to be in there making votes...I don't think so.

    Final point, if you listed all of the issues and both of their positions on them, you would not see much difference but yet he is about "Change" and she is not. I just hope that when the Movement is over and he does not follow through with his promises and rid Washington of everything that has been horrible, he and everyone that voted for him will be held accountable just like he is holding Hillary accountable for one decision on the war.

    February 22, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  16. robin

    Actually the plagarism issue was brought up by CNN, which led into the healthcare debate were Obama would raise his finger in order to interrupt Hillary when she was speaking several times. Very Presidential! Will any of you Obama supporters who think Obama will invite you over after he is elected, since he is so cool and fun to hang out with, remind him he is not in school anymore?

    February 22, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. jc

    No one plagiarized anyone. Deval Patrick works for Obama and gave him a line to use in a speech, which was NOT verbatim, by the way. All politicians do it, and WHO CARES??? If the sentiment is theirs and the speech works, let it go. No one would care about this isue at all if Hillary didn't keep bringing it up. And what a blunder for her to talk about "xeroxing" change AFTER he had owned up to taking the line from Deval. Obama has never claimed that he didn't take it from him, so why are people continuing to attack him on it? And WHO CARES?? Let's get to the real issues in the campaign and stop all the stupid nitpicking on speeches and advertisements, blah blah blah.

    February 22, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  18. Kaan

    Give us a break CNN! What kind of a headline is that !? "Edwards-ish Lingo"? Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are two great candidates and all this garbage about borrowed words is being fueled by the media not by the campaigns. When you actually consider the words or phrases in question, the fact that they're coming up again or that they sound like what's already been said might just mean that they actually matter! So instead of focusing on the off chance that maybe someone has committed plagiarism, focus on the ISSUES! Focus on the differences between the candidates so that we can make the right choice...

    February 22, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  19. RICK

    HI EVERY ONE,

    HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON SAY’S SHE IS AN AGENT OF CHANGE, AND HOW SHE LOVES THIS COUNTRY, AND HAS SO MUCH PLANS FOR IT: THEN WHY DID’NT SHE RUN FOR THE WHITE HOUSE IN 2004 AFTER SHE SAW AL- GORE LOST IN 2000 TO GORGE BUSH, WHEN SHE KNEW THEN THE COUNTRY WAS GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION, AND GORGE BUSH HAD TAKEN US TO FIGHT A DUM WAR, IS IT BECAUSE SHE DID NOT WANT TO STOP THE BUSHES DYNASTY, WHICH SHE IS ALSO IS TRYING TO ESTABLISH FOR HER FAMILY? OR IS IT BECAUSE SHE DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH EXPERIENCE AND VISION FOR AMERICA?
    IT HAD TO TAKE SOMEONE WITH EXPERIENCE, LOVE, VISION, COMMON SENCE, OPEN MIND, AND WISDOM FOR THIS COUNTRY, LIKE BARACK OBAMA WHO JUST CAME TO THE SENATE TO SEE WASHINTON NEEDS TO CHANGE FOR HER TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT.
    PS:
    HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE, GIVE SOME ONE ELSE A CHANCE LIKE WE GAVE BILL CLINTON IN THE 90’S. AND ALSO OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE CAN ALSO BELEIVE THEY

    HAVE A SHOT AT THE AMERICAN DREAM.

    February 22, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  20. Really?

    Are these really the arguments that Obama is making now? This has just gotten out of hand. He presented Patrick's speech verbatim (wearing pretty much the same suit and tie). Hillary presented a shared idea. I do not know if I can take six more months of this bickering.

    February 22, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. Randy - Denver

    The argument is not that Ms. clinton used someone elses words people the complaint is that she did it after making a big point about her opponent doing it. A significant difference! Her supporters were all over the fact he used words from a close friend and supporter his supporters are not upset she used the words of her husband (and a rival for the candidacy) but that she did it after saying Mr. Obama was wrong for doing so, do you see the difference? most likely not but try folks one of them did something we all do the other is trying to set a double standard, ie it is WRONG if oyu do it but OK if I do it and if you call me on it you are being petty.
    A final note, the comments were put out by his STAFF before he had even left the stage, therefroe, unless you are giving him some kind of prescient powers, HE had nothing to do with it, maybe he should chew his staffs butts out, and maybe he did I notice he is not on the air talking about it and his staff isn't either anymore....

    February 22, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  22. Environmentally blue

    Looks like the Obama campaign is desperate.

    Pretty funny.

    What's wrong, people seeing through them? Or is it just Michelle Obama's latest bad remark. "for the first time in my adult life, I'm proud of my country". REALLY? How sad.

    February 22, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    What kind cnn personal these people are used less crew

    February 22, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. Grizzly

    Incredible. 300 million people in this country and one of these two people will be the democratic nominee to run for the presidency? One of these people may become the leader of the greatest country in the world? It is not "silly season," it is "ridiculously childish" season.

    Come on, people! Hillary, Obama – Start acting like adults and tell us how you plan to improve and advance our nation. Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot. This is a political campaign where the goal is to increase and solidify your personal power. It has nothing to do with what is best for this country.

    Sorry for acting so naive!

    February 22, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. mike

    Don't they all use speach-writers? Is it plagarism to use the words of a speach writer? It has to do with intellectual property. As long as the original author's not complaining, there's no foul. The real issue on this topic is who tried to make it an issue. That would be Hillary – in a fit of desperation.

    February 22, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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