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

Clinton faces claims of borrowed language

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/22/art.billcopy0222.gi.jpg caption="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. Fabio

    It's silly time!

    February 22, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. Phil

    How can Hillary supporters claim that Obama is doing the same thing? She is the one who brought up plagiarism. She attacked him on this issue. Now when he turns it back on her, he is somehow hyporcritical. That makes no sense. She opened the door and he slammed it back in her face. I believe we will not hear anything further from Clinton's camp about Obabma's stolen words.

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

    Hillary Clinton copied John Edwards Health Care plan, Barack Obama copied a friends speech. Which is worse??

    February 22, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. sean

    There are some seriously deficient people posting here who need to wake up and BE REAL. a few posts say "Hillary just borrowed similar language while Obama quoted verbatim." This is obviously idiocy at work because if you read Deval Patrick's quote and Obama's quote, the latter is NOT VERBATIM. No more "verbatim" than Hillary's. Yet there's people levaing comments left and right about Obama's "verbatim" rip-off. Sigh.

    Next we have the geniuses who say things like "I thought Obama was against mudslinging?" in refence to his camp calling out Hillary's total hypocrisy. AS IF THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN DIDN'T START THIS whole mudslingin-over-borrowed language BS in the first place. Why weren't these people whining about mudslinging then? probably 'cause it's not mudsling when their candidate does it.

    Another day, another bunch of Hillary supporters whining, crying, and grasping at the straws of inaccuracy in order to "make a point."

    nice try.

    February 22, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. John

    Come on people it all depends on what the deffinition of plagerize IS. I thought Hillary was in her ellemnet last night she almost cried at the end there what more do you want. I thought it was a great debate both canidates are WONDERFUL. And if HRC IS the canidate I will vote for her If it's Obama well so be it. We are all just lucky to be part of the best political team on TV. LOL

    February 22, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. Dan

    It isn't a big deal for either of them that they used brief sections of another person's language, but what makes it a big deal is that Hillary brought it up. The hypocrisy is, and should be a big deal, even if the substance behind the matter (similar language) is not.

    February 22, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. Northern Post

    It is a real shame that the public is turning away from the most qualified, most experienced, and the most dedicated candidate and instead are responding to a person who has shown only that he can be a slick communicator.

    In case anyone hasn't noticed Obama is looking more and more like he is cocky and full of himself. I worry that all he would do if elected is sit in the oval office pontificating and dreaming up speeches. He is looking dangerously cocky, which is not the same thing as confidence. Wake up people and see the forest for the trees!

    February 22, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. Peter Canada 4 Obama!

    I for one don't think Obama camp is trying to go negative on Hillary.
    This message is just to elaborate that everyone does use phrase of other person some times.
    For Hillary to bring it into debate was just silly and she knew it after that booed.
    Hillary also conceded defeat for the nominee of democrats, and she is going to be fine eventhough she didn't win.

    She has learn lesson that in a do or die debate like that you need to talk about what the people want to hear, not to waste people time listening to whether or not Obama uses his friend and adviser quotes.

    It appears she out of ideas and she thinks going on offense will help.
    She made it clear last night that she will join Obama if he is the dem nominee . She also think that the rules of the party should stand, when she was asked about supperdelegates.
    So, to all you Hillary's supporters please don't go negative on Obama, because soon she and him will be together campaigning.

    February 22, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
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