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. Tom Bulger, Avon, Maine, The Heart of Democracy

    It is a sign of intelligence to recognize and glean wisdom and insight from those around us. We all stand on the shoulders of those who have come before. If George Bush had been willing to hear and adopt the insights of Hamilton, Baker, Allbright, America we wouldn't be in the fix we're in now.

    February 22, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. georgie

    incase anyone was not watching on the computer..live as obama left while hillary stayed around and spoke to the crowd ang signed all those papers....now who was with the people.....or maybe obama figured he was far enough ahead so he didn't have to..wats your excuse now obama.or naybe he just thinks he's to good to be bothered. maybe he was just tired.....well??????

    February 22, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. Cris in Texas

    Obama is in trouble FOX news network just came out on a story that the debate story about a bregade in Iraqs not having enought soilders was in the officer in the army's words " hard to imagine"

    Explain that obama!

    February 22, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. Mark From Hollywood

    Truth is she speaks to John Edward the psychic who communicates with those who have crossed over to the other side. "I see dead people" can be Hillary's next campaign message.

    February 22, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. glen

    barack the socialist obama has actually been stealing from john edwards speech given at the 2004 convention,

    February 22, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. Bobby 4 Obama!!!

    Well Carole in nCanada, I do kn ow this. I am old enought to vote. And wheras you can't I can. And yes, young people are not idiots, and even if they can't vote now they will be able to soon enough. Instead of attacking America's youth why not uplift CANADA! And yes Obama did many noteable things at the debate, and in his campain. I guess you don't consider what is noteable.

    February 22, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. Honestlady

    Has the Obama camp actually came out and accused Hillary of plagerism or have they just pointed out the fact that Hillary is a hypocrite who accused them of doing something and then did the very same thing in the next breath....thus only mearly pointing out the hyprocrisy of it all.

    If someone accuses me of something and continuously attacks me about it, and then I find that they have done the very same thing....I would simply point this out to them....but i would not use the same accusatory tone that they used towards me. My only point in doing this would be to point out the hyprocrisy and I absolutely see nothing wrong with this.

    February 22, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Carl Sloan

    I have a good feeling we won't be hearing anything else about plagarizing for the rest of the election season now that they're even. And thank goodness too, because the people deserve better than arguing over a petty issue...

    February 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. George

    She attacked with the "xerox" line and then proceeded to xerox a line herself, all in the same sitting. This is headline material. It exposes her character.

    February 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |

    The Obama camp is just trying to put this non-issue to rest to show Hillary that most politicians often use words that others have used before.

    Maybe this will end it now.

    February 22, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  11. VA


    February 22, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. Don Tangeman

    Hillary Clinton is guilty! She does the same thing of borrowing words from somebody else that she is accusing her opponent of. She should be ashamed of herself. Obama will bring this country together.

    February 22, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. jessica

    The difference between Hillary saying something similar to her husband's speech and Obama quoting a whole frase from his friend is that Clinton is not running on mere words. Obama on the other hand is........Obama has no substance and does not match Clinton's experience, The only one thing we can believe from Obama are his words and when they are not his own what does that say about your candidate? He is lacking in experience and now lacking in integrity. Even the networks say it is common for politicians to use each others lines but when you are running you campaign on it, it should and has been addressed. Last night Hillary was such a lady and all these emails are hateful. Remember we are one Democratic Party and Obama will need Hillary's votes to get him into the White House so stop hating!!!!

    I hope Hillary does make a come back and wins.

    GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!!
    GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    GO HILLARY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 22, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  14. JB

    Obama's campaign is running a little scared after last night. Who can blame them. Hillary shut the door in their face. And when you are married to someone for 30 years or so it is easy to pick up their language. In Obama's case, it was just lifted intentionally from other people. He is a suit giving speeches. That's it. No comparison. CNN should know better.

    February 22, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. cysto independent

    For Clinton to call herself experienced is laughable. What- as a ONE term senator and first lady (in charge of PROTOCOL)? Please! I agree with the above sentiments, she will do anything to win and will not bow out gracefully as she should. She is not the uniter that this country desperately needs.

    February 22, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  16. Vic

    I thought Obama was against Silliness season !!!!

    Or is it just when someone attacks him

    February 22, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  17. Mary

    I don't believe that Obama gave any credit to the Governors lines until they appeared on u tube. That was the mistake that Obama made. It is a difference ln lifting a message than repeating a line (Example) No matter what happens we will be fine after this election. Shame on Obama for begruding Senator Clinton the standing ovation she received at the end of the debate.

    Hillary cannot have a debate with Obama, because it is consider bad for Hillary to dispute Obama policy or the lack of. The media must hit Hillary with a hammer because they are so bias for Obama. I never thought that I would agree with Fox about MSNBC and CNN, but I do, neither of you have been fair (Not even a little) to Hillary. I am looking at McCain.

    February 22, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. MN Woman

    While I don't care for Obama or his ideas the constant hatred expressed towards Hillary is nuts. Some of you folks need to up your meds.

    February 22, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. Colin

    xerox is a verb, not a copyright, the term xerox as a copyright came after the verb to xerox was in use, it is a greek derived word.

    February 22, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  20. VoteResponbly08

    All the Hillary bashers, you are taking precious space with your insecured comments about the First Lady and future President.
    I guess you all feel so low that you need to bring Hillary down to feel good about yourselfs. Pathetic!!! when we have an economy that is almost in a recession, People are loosing homes, jobs and many without healthcare. This accusation is again Rediculous and those that spend their time bashing should go get a book and read up on the candidates accomplishments and then lets talk.
    Get a life or get some quality information. Bashing only brings a bad ora and no one has time for such ignorant nonsense.
    Obama made his whole campaign on inspirational word that were not his. Hillary has made her whole campaigne on Solutions, experience! Very different. This all is rediculous!!!!

    February 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Goon

    "Hm… is it "silly season" in the Obama camp?"

    – its a matter of pointing out hillarys hypocrisy and how easy such a charge can be leveed on anyone, not about calling her some person with no ideas of her own.

    You'd think Hilary supporters would learn a lesson from this, but of course it has to be spun as Obama being evil and blah blah blah.

    February 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  22. aa

    Oh my – looks like I better pick up some goo-gone so I can replace my bumper sticker. 🙁

    February 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. Byron Goodgame

    I see, Hillary gets the double standard working against her again. It's no big deal when Obama copies word for word someone else's work. But Hillary has something that sounds simialr to someone else's words and it's the same thing as what Obama did....But much worse....Again sexism at it's finest

    February 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. Jack

    Taking words from your husband is really acceptable (Hillary).

    Taking words from your campaign co-chairman is also acceptable (Obama), but less acceptable, especially when you've cast yourself as someone who's very original and creative with words. It doesn't help your case.

    February 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. I've finally had it!

    The debate was over, it was not a standing ovation for Hillary. Right before the question, it was stated, Final Question. See below.

    Taken from transcript of CNN:
    BROWN: We have time for just one final question, and we thought we would sort of end on a more philosophical question. You've both spent a lot of time talking about leadership, about who's ready and who has the right judgment to lead if elected president.

    And Georgie, Hillary needs to stay around and talk to the people. She's losing bad. And I saw Obama talking to plenty of people.

    February 22, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
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