February 22nd, 2008
02:32 PM ET
14 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. Former Clinton '96 Elector

    It's amazing how hypocritical Hillary is. Certainly, we're finally seeing the last act of a very bad play. Imagine that she attacked him in the debate for something she later did not once but twice herself.

    Perhaps the Clintons just don't get it. Lying to people ALL THE TIME catches up with you.

    February 22, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. Jay Ifert

    lol... this whole argument is so dumb on so many levels

    February 22, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. J. Georgino

    It is true what Obama himself stated....the people follwoing him ARE delusional. What has he done to prove what he can do??? I am still researching to find someting and I do not. ALL RHETORIC – the same people and mentality that following Dubya is blindly following him.

    February 22, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Alex

    Mark said:
    This is starting to get real petty …. The Obama campaigns says it's silly and now they are taking part it in …. If they don't stop, it will look bad for them as well. By the way, Obama better stop saying how how makes a pretty good speech. People don't like that typ eof cockiness. The media will eat him up if he continues to praise himself.

    But in the mean time, Dubya can say "Bring it on?" or "Dead or Alive?"

    Come on, man. To be a leader you have to have a kind of arrogance – you're selling yourself to the American people.

    February 22, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  5. Joe in Seattle

    Once again – this is "silly season". All of us use language/ideas on a daily basis which can be traced to someone else. Examine your own ideas/speech phrases and determine which are original to you. Very few.

    February 22, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  6. Shirley

    So is this latest comparison just further proof that all politicians' words are just recycled over and over again?

    February 22, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  7. dick

    Cripes! bit deal! who the heck cares? Even the analysts after the debate said her xerox comment was a prepared statement and it back fired on her. I too noticed she had said the same thing Edwards had.
    I bet white house staff and the secret service aren't anxious for her to come back what with her foul mouth ranting and raving. Her public personna is so phony. They love Laura.
    Not a Obama supporter either but this is fun entertainment.

    February 22, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Matt

    Obama the uniter?

    Lame, lame, lame.

    February 22, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. Anthony C.

    The Hillary shills will naturally pounce on this as an example of mudslinging by the Obama camp ("how dare you serve us our own medicine!"), but they miss the point. Hillary's plagiarism is not the important fact here - what matters is the dripping hypocrisy.

    February 22, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Robert

    Let's settle this once and for all. Every time a candidate gives a speech, they must all give credit to whoever is responsible for the words in that speech. That means the speech writers, secretaries, friends, historical figures, whoever, is credited right up front. No fuss, no muss. End of Story.

    February 22, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. Hope

    What a HYPOCRITE Hillary Clinton is. This would be a non-issue except last night she said, "Your words should be your own, that is "change" you can Xerox". Then she gives a very moving ending full of WORDS that are not her own. This proves what the Clintons are really all about, do and say anything to win, even if they do the same thing. This is what the American people want to CHANGE!!

    February 22, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    She also lifted "Yes, we can" from Obama and Si, se puedo" from Chaves. Both without attribution.

    February 22, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. yael

    this is absurd. similar ideas substantively and exacty words copied are the difference between beliefs and plagiarism. perhaps with permission, but still, credit should be given where due, not taken with false implications of originality and sincerity. similar beliefs and frequent discussion will obviously lead to similar comments. but not verbatim paragraphs. can we have less biased headlines please? sensationalism is old hat.

    February 22, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. Llarian

    Where exactly is everybody getting that it was the Obama campaign responsible for pointing this out? I see articles on blog sites pointing out hipocrisy, but nowhere is Obama's campaign responsible for it.

    February 22, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Dean Shillington

    The fact that this is becoming a front-running issue shows just how desperate the Clinton camp has become. A truly great leader takes the best ideas and executes on them, no matter of their source. Maybe US politics needs to embrace a little more of this concept so that ability to get out of this crisis becomes the issue, and more realistic.

    Maybe this is the one job where plagiarizing should be encouraged? Either way, everyone's words are borrowed, and does it really matter who states it in a prettier way. Do everyone a favour, focus on the issues at hand and stop playing these silly and desperate political games. Funny thing is that I liked Clinton, but the fact they are trying to win with scare tactics and a shell game to distract us, makes me lose a great deal of confidence in her leadership. I'd love to see her use that tactic in Israel or Russia. Get back to work!

    February 22, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. Audry

    1) It wasn't even speech and then she was saying in all different words. Unlike Obama... he copied the whole block, the same phrases, the same lines, the same tone, and the same words. 2) Obama said this kind of accusation is silly then whey attacking other people the same way? People get over it!

    Hillary 08

    February 22, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. Joel

    I still think Hillary is the better candidate. There is no one on this earth who would place promises over experience.

    February 22, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. richard ostor

    We invaded Iraq in 2003. We then took over Saddam's oil wells and oil business.

    Some questions that the candidates, who are all sitting Senators, have not answered, and unless prodded to do so, will never answer are: 1. How much oil has been pumped from the time of the invasion to the present time?, 2. How much money was received from the sale of that oil?, and 3. Where did that money go?

    Let us not forget that the present oil business as run by America in some fashion, is not part of OPEC, and that the Iraqi oil can be sold at prices lower than $ 100 per barrel

    There is no prohibition to sell that oil to the United States, at lower prices than OPEC is charging. The only prohibition would be from the oil companies, who have recorded record profits, while this county is on the brink of a recession, directly linked to the inflated gas prices.

    Where is Congress in their oversight role as to the events taking place in Iraq?. I wonder how much political contributions into their reelection campaigns have affected the lack of oversight.

    What has truly amazed me, is the mainstream media, ignoring this issue. How far does the environment of corruption extend?

    February 22, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. Will, Little Rock, AR

    This is BULL CNN. Why is all your news today negative news about Hillary Clinton. Didn't your precious Obama call it silly and now they are complaining because she got a standing ovation.

    February 22, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |

    Many of you Obama supporters sound here like you're not even old enough to vote!!! You know if Obama had done anything noteable at all last night in the debate his camp wouldn't be attacking Hillary now...

    February 22, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. Marie

    "the same people and mentality that following Dubya is blindly following him."

    Totally. The same people who like Dubya are way into Obama.

    Maybe the most absurd contention I've read here in a while.

    February 22, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  22. Sam

    This is a real funny/sad piece. We have really touched the nadirs of pilitcal reporting from CNN if that is the kind of commentary that is being fed to the us readers by this esteemed news service.

    I am not sure whether it amkes me laugh or cry or which one I wish to do more.
    Shame on CNN for doing a disservice to the American public, by feeding trash rather than thoughtful analysis and pieces that used to define it.

    February 22, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. Bill

    Obama is in bed with the media. Its to bad that its going to be to late when people find out who Obama really is. The republicans can't wait get their hands on him

    February 22, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  24. Afropolitan

    Hillary's closing point was not only XEROXED but it was her worst moment in the debate! How can the MSM state otherwise?


    How then does HRC turn around and get "all pseudo emotional" when she sees the devastating consequences of her poor and bad decisions? Is this the kind of "leadership" we can expect from a Hillary Presidency? Is this the years of "experience" HRC has to offer? When will HRC apologize to the brave men and women in uniform and take responsibility for her actions?

    You not only have to be READY on day one, you have to be RIGHT on day one!

    YES WE CAN! Obama 08.

    February 22, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. Liam

    Hillary is the Queen of Doublespeak. Do as I say and not as I do, is her campaign theme.

    February 22, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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