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. truth be told

    well, who's plagiarizing now? maybe she was reading from a xeroxed copy at the debate last night.

    February 22, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. Mark

    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.

    February 22, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. Kathryn Janeway

    Ha! Take that Hillary! Now who's Mrs. Xerox?

    February 22, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. Di

    Whats good for the goose, is good for the gander!!!!

    February 22, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. Lakeshia D. King

    Obviously Hillary Clinton is not sure where exactly she stands on certain issues. Apparently when Barack Obama "borrows" lines from the speeches of friends, he is plagarizing and promoting a change we can xerox. However, she turns around and does the same thing by borrowing key lines from her husband and John Edwards Is she insane?

    February 22, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. John

    Hillary's so called best closing shot showing emotion and such was "xeroxed" from Edwards October dabate and His campaign suspension speach. IT WAS NOT HER OWN WORDS what a cheap remark earlier "Xeroxed" was and now Obama's campaign will send this shot back to haunt her for the rest of her doomed campaign.

    OBAMA 08

    February 22, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  7. Danielle

    I thought Obama called stories like this one "silly politics," yet it is his campaign that is circulating this story . . . contradictive and ironically his campaign is participating in the "silly politics" he is condemning.

    February 22, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. Julie, Binghamton, NY

    Saying we're going to be fine and that the election should be about the American people are two general ideas. Hillary can't say two general things? Maybe if it was word to word, but it's not- they said these things differently. This is so lame. She had a great moment and Obama is trying to ruin it for her. This is the guy who copied WORD FOR WORD from his friend, and justified it.

    February 22, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. SC in Rhode Island

    HRC: its not hits you grow from its hits you Xerox....she is grasping at straws, petty stuff that all politicians do...how can they speak there own words in todays 24-7 campaigning....comical

    Obama 2008

    February 22, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. Becky In Indiana

    This wouldn't even be an issue except that the Clinton camp started it. I always think its funny when the mud you sling comes back and hits you in the face : )...


    February 22, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  11. justin

    hypocrite for life...

    February 22, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  12. Manuel TX

    I thought that Obama was above political mud-slinging.

    Apparently not.

    February 22, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. Aaron

    That was also a line in the movie Primary Colours...I wonder if the screenwriter gave a cut of his pay to President Clinton?

    February 22, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. kathleen, illinois

    It is over HILLARY! You sound like a brooooken record.
    Enough already.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I am sick of the attacks.
    Move on!

    February 22, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. Tom Wittmann

    As OBAMA said comment as these are silly, but in case of the Obama campaign, somewhat understandable (even if wrong) to reinforce OBAMA's yesteraday's remarks regarding the past attacks of the Clinton campaign


    February 22, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. Dana Broxton

    this is not surprising but extremely funny , Hillary just cant seem to win anywhere can she? reminds me of a similar situation with Bill Oriely commenting on Michelle Obamas statement but yet the dumb fox news broadcaster said that he"didnt have to get out his lynching party just yet unless she could clarify the situation and in that case he would have to track it down", why isnt that being broadcasted everywhere? He was trying to comment on Michelles comment and ended up putting his own foot in his mouth!! Same goes with Clinton. which is why i have said, am saying and will always say,

    Obama 08

    February 22, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  17. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    What about her "it takes a village to raise a child" which Hillary took from a famous poet.

    February 22, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. Micahel Guinn, Ventura, CA

    It makes her remarks during the debate about "the words should be your own" look rather–hypocritical. I will be so glad when we can get past this primary! Let's save the tough-stuff for McCain!

    February 22, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. David

    Just goes to show Hillary can get people worked up too if she cares to. No. The debate was not over yet. They cut it short out of fear that people were on the verge of yelling HILLARY HILLARY HILLARY !!!!!!! Another quick one by CNN

    My advice to Hilary.. Show ur tender side every day until March 4th & u will blow Obama right out of Texas!

    TEXAS 4 HILLARY! We're waiting' 2 vote baby!

    February 22, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  20. James62

    LOL, While one can claim plagiarism from many sources, I think most would have a hard time subscribing to the belief when it is one's spouse, especially for political spouses who live, eat and breath the same beliefs. Almost any other source it could be questioned and at least a valid explanation requested, but your own spouse in this context? Stupid. And although the Clinton and Edwards comments have a similar theme and message, I question simply don't feel they are carbon copies of each other or that it should be an issue. nuff said!!

    February 22, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  21. austinfd

    There are only so many ways to say some things... I don't think her adaptation of Bill's line is quite the same as Obama's apparent verbatim quote.

    February 22, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. California Voter

    Talk about grasping at straws. This about takes the cake. There is a very big difference between using parts of sentence spoken before and taking a whole portion of someone's speech. Get real.

    February 22, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  23. Ilene

    Hillary is such a good and proud liar. Don't understand why anyone believes a thing that leaves her lips. Thank GOD the people in this country have woken up and have got behind OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 22, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. William

    Hillary can speak using her husband's language, since she piratically wrote all of them when he was campaigning.

    If Obama is trying to get even, he's not doing a very good job at it.

    February 22, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  25. Lance in Monrovia

    It is outragous that Hillary Clinton in one breath attacks Obama for bogus plagarism, then in the next breath she verbatim rips off her own husband's campaign stump speech.

    What the heck is she thinking? She's so out of touch, she doesn't realize that things like youtube and google exist to look up past speeches and make comparisons.

    Hillary Clinton, you've lost it. I'm sorry, but daily I lose more and more respect for you and your campaign. I'm a life long democrat and I am as ashamed of the campaign that you're running, as I am proud of the campaign Barack Obama is running.

    He's going to move this country forward in a positive, open, honest direction.

    Obama 08

    February 22, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
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