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. Mike, Toronto

    Whoever that candidate is that you like and you're going to vote for (by the way, being a Canadian I like them both), two things are clear to me in the current context: that people will always borrow ideas and words from each other because this is how our society makes progress, and that Clinton's campaign made a clear mistake by bringing this into discussion. Surprisingly enough, her team looks that is not as good as Obama's.

    February 22, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  2. Mr. B.

    This just proves what most Americans allready know.....

    America Is Ready
    Obama 08

    February 22, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. t

    GBryant. its because of the blatant hypocrisy of there campaign.

    February 22, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. Molly

    I'm for Obama, but his camp shouldn't have circulated this... it's bad to stoop down to her level of smear.

    February 22, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Observer, Jacksonville, FL

    I think that we should all just agree that Hillary Clinton is toast!!! She is a goner.

    February 22, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Nichelle2571

    Sen. Clinton uses terms and comments from Sen. Obama all the time. Whatever works in his message, she will start using it.

    February 22, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. joyce


    February 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. JayinMN

    and just to clarify, everyone involved in this debate is at fault, including the media they KNOW its a non-issue and they keep talking about it.

    and at least they have an excuse slow news days and they need something, Hillary was trying to go negative and this is all they could find to use? not realizing hey everyone does this do we really want to make this an issue? did they not think hundreds of bloggers wouldn't look for their examples?

    lets just go back to the issues

    February 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. Brenda in Indiana

    Sorry to burst Hillary supporters bubble but it was Obama supporters who started circulating her "plagiarism" word to the main stream media soon after the debate last night. Some of us feel its not fair to be accusatory to our candidate when she herself has "borrowed" lines from others and to do it last night after her "Xerox" comment was rediculous. Hopefully now this issue will be laid to rest and we can focus on the feal issues.

    February 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. Trinh

    What comes around.... goes around. She has upset too many Obama SUPPORTERS and now they are starting to dig into her speeches. That is what she gets for stooping low.

    February 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. Allen

    Hillary didn't use the same words verbatim she paraphrased her remarks. That's quite a bit different than flat out stealing whole sections of another persons speech word for word.

    February 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. Jake, California

    re: Delano King,

    you are aware that the media doesn't make up the Clinton negatives, right?Yes they exist so why not bring them out? If you weigh their negatives against their positives, it will be a disaster...there are hundreds , if not thousands of them that you probably don't know about..

    Besides, who wants Bill Clinton back in the white house for a third term. Just as he has taken over Hillary's campaign it would take him no time at all to push Hillary aside and begin running things in the white house...GOD FORBID!

    February 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. Phil

    When Hillary gets rocked in Texas, I wish she'd have the good sense to bow out of the campaign – for the greater good of the country.
    I believe that its almost time for her to begin supporting the party's nominee...

    February 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. Koul

    If it was about voting for American Idol, I am sure Barrack Obama will be my first choice, because, he is fresh, has no track record of achieving anything politicaly significant, he places higher emphasis on sound bites like change you can believe in and so on and so forth, offers no comprehenmsive detail about change from what to where except for changing his stand on meeting with terrorist leadership, is a mee too...fellow.,He talks about changing culture in Washington, I heard same sound bite from Geore Bush....and we know what he actually achieved... and is indded too cool. However, this is about voting for someone who is entrusted with running my country...The President of the USA....and for the very same reasons I mentioned above, he is least qualified of the two for this job.

    February 22, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. RJB2

    HRC Supporters...smell the coffee
    Are you saying that Obama is really worse then Clinton, Bush
    You can't vote for him because?
    Because you people are BITTER...because he beat Hillary
    I think it was Hillary who beat Hillary
    Just smile and say next time and vote for Obama
    Obama is our best chance to beat McCain...AKA Bush
    Millions want Obama...it is not his fault that she is not the one
    People do want Washington to change and he just hit the nerve
    It could have been Clinton who said this but she did not
    She went with experience
    And because of EXPERIENCE Washington is like it is...DYSFUNCTIONAL

    So...HRC supporters...stop being so bitter and hateful


    February 22, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. IA. Democrat

    Ron from Texas-
    I agree with you 100%. However, I am not suprised coming from this candidate (Senator Clinton).

    But the truth is she has tried nearly everything to discredit her opponant and it has generally backfired, costing her endorsements and votes. The news media provides her with nonstop coverage and generally shows a positive bias toward the Clinton campaign.

    In my opinion she has run a shoddy campaign and perhaps this is a clue as to how she would run our country.
    Truthfully ,I am sick and tired of hearing about her
    "wealth of experience" as compared to her opponant.
    I am not sure just what she is talking about.
    Yet if experience counts, look at our current administration and the Experience that we have had for the last 8 years-
    Most everyone will agree that it is a mess.

    I don't look for CNN to post my blog ( it's pro Obama)
    but if they do, I am pleased to state that I am supporting
    Senator Obama. I live in Iowa and I am a white female over the age of 50 who is inspired by this mans incredible vision for a better America.

    February 22, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. Denny Sangiovanni

    Also you can add that they all say the same B.S. about the Social Security and the Health System. So what?

    February 22, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  18. John W.

    So when Obama is accused, people jump all over him.
    Now that Hillary is accused, people try and blame the Obama camp for pointing the finger?
    Everyone needs to stop acting LIKE CHILDREN.

    p.s. I am 19 years old....probably alot younger than some ADULTS on here

    February 22, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  19. soundbite

    How can anyone deny the magnitude of Hillary Clinton's hypocrisy? Her "best moment" turns out to be cribbed from both John Edwards and Bill Clinton? Oh, the delicious irony.

    Hillary's entire campaign sounds like a bad short story, and last night we heard the surprise ending.

    February 22, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  20. Michael

    Hillary is divisive AND annoying. Obama could have jumped on her for being in bed with lobbyists (as we all already know she's taken more money from lobbysists than any candidate, democrat or republican), but he continues to stick to the issues and not get lured into Hillarys "same ol, same ol" style of politics. It's time to bow out Hillary, and try and be graceful about it.

    Obama/Edwards 08'

    February 22, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. Case

    For all those who say "how despicable of the Obama campaign," did you READ the article? A READER of Talking Points Memo (which has not and will not endorse a candidate, and has said so on the record) made these claims. The Obama Campaign is not pushing the meme, CNN is. Please.

    Also, Obama doesn't say his campaign is about words. Hillary supporters say Obama's campaign is about words. There's a lot of substance to him if you know how to read. Don't expect your candidate to be handed to you. Do your research.

    February 22, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  22. Carole

    Lets be clear – Obama got where he is by name endorsements, and the media. He would not be even close if he had to get where he is on his own. Hillary stands on her OWN TWO FEET. Her accomplishments are her own.

    One more point – no Hillary supporter is bound to vote for Obama if he is the nominee. That is the old way of doing things! Vote for who you want. If you do not want to vote for Obama – don't. Write in Hillary's name, or stay home, or vote for McCain. All of that is better than getting someone that needed all that pull to get him in. He is going to owe those endorsements "big time."


    February 22, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  23. Misha

    Go HILLARY!!!
    Who is more hipocrit, one who take advise from a Jeremiah Wright alias minister suporter of Louis Farrakhan??
    You Obamian are blind and ignorant for not see a scammer. I do not trust Obama I think is an Islam Inplant, wait and see.

    February 22, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  24. Katie M

    Yes, it's silly season indeed for Hillary. She's playing filthy politics with all these unnecessary nit-picking on Obama. Get serious Hillary and stop talking like this is a cheerleading contest!! When we want to hear about important issues concerning the citizens of the United States, you're busy being rude and quarrelsome!!

    February 22, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  25. Kevin Zelko

    For those claiming Obama is digging this speech as one of Edwards- It was a blogger, not a party member. Obama is focussing on the positives and has the upper hand. He doesnt need to make any moves. He is on a roll and just needs to keep it close the rest of the way...which Texas looks very close and should give him the lead regardless of the vote count.

    Go Obama

    February 22, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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