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. Tammy

    Yeah Yeah Yeah, the WORDS are not verbatim. Yes similar. But saying it is Americans that are important in the election is something all canidates should say. Mr Obamas words have been almost verbatim!! Big difference.

    February 22, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |

    She talked about goals "I hope will bring our country together," a la Barack Obama.

    February 22, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. AJ

    That disgusting thug Obama is grasping at straws.

    February 22, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  4. Gordon H. Webb

    Man...the Obama campaign is REACHING on this one. I didn't think that they thought what they did was wrong and now they do this? I was undecided but now I see that Obama is "politics as usual" himself.

    February 22, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |

    She said she didn't want to be part of the first generation of Americans that didn't leave the country better off than when they inherited it, which recalls John Edwards's line about how we don't want to be the first generation of Americans whose children do worse in life than they did.

    February 22, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. ORK

    The plagarism charge is one hilary can xerox now!

    February 22, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. A concerned citizen

    Obama is playing dirty too! Gosh why can't the media see this? Why can't the american people?

    February 22, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  8. aznmusic

    This is why we can't elect Hilary – all she is a hypocritical Nixon/Bush redux.

    February 22, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  9. Linda

    Perhaps it's just me, but I think conveying similar ideas and lines that are very general is different than duplicating the delivery and words of entire sequence in one's speech.

    February 22, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. robert in mpls

    That's rich. love it.

    cheers to obama, again, for elevating above the fray.

    February 22, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. John

    Hillary you can fool most of the people some of the time. You can fool some of the people most of the time. but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Winston Churchill. Prime Minister

    February 22, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. Jim Shimmer

    Hillary is so desperate and she is trying every which way to win the nomination. How low can she stoop, its pathetic.
    She should give up and stop tearing the party apart.

    She stole lines from Bill and Edward! Haha – she fell in her own trap. She is as corrupt and selfish as any other US politican who been running washington forever. Lets give change a chance for a change.

    Obama can do it – Absolutely – Yes We Can!

    February 22, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. Linda

    Clinton deserves considerable press for her words last night. Considering the various Clinton tactics that have included twisting the facts, Obama has been remarkedly kind in his attacks against Clinton. The negative response from the audience last night showed that people are tired of Clinton "silly" (Obama's comment) level of attacks. I think silly was far too kind.

    February 22, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. Jared

    And who can actually see her in the Oval Office? What a joke.

    February 22, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  15. NickNasc

    If THIS isn't enough to wake people out of their slumber then Nothing is. Hillary is a Fake.

    February 22, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  16. K in PA

    Basically, they both do it, so lets get past it... I personaly think she is worse for this only because she is the one that brought it up..

    February 22, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. Kelly Anne

    "Ready to plagiarized on day one!"

    February 22, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. Sam of Carolina

    I am a huge obama fan, but I don't think he needs to have his camp go after Hillary this way. I think she is faltering, and to attack this way makes his camp seem to Clintonesqe......
    The is one of the first instances he has taken the low road....and I would rather he not...

    Obama '08

    February 22, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. Colie Brice, Asbury Park, NJ

    How do you spell hypocrite?


    February 22, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. Kris Overstreet

    There are only two words to describe this:

    _Typical_ and _Clintonian._

    February 22, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  21. Dave, TX

    typical. as soon as she or her husband tries to discredit someone, we find out that they do it, too. Illuminati fools.

    February 22, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Marisa

    Clinton is proving to be a hypocrite on this issue. I hope that she will now put the issue to rest, and has learned her lesson.

    We're all tired of silly political ploys and meaningless spin from campaigns. We need our politicians to get to work and begin restoring America.

    February 22, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  23. carol

    Who the flip cares. Don't you sorry AH., news people have anything better to talk about than Hillary. Maybe 9-11 would not have happened if you were not so worried about Bill back then, you could of actually try to get real stories that mattered. Shame on you all guess you never learned your lesson.

    February 22, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. Elaine Edwards

    So during last night's debate, Sen Obama said that pointing out copied language is part of the "silly season" Americans are sick of. And then immediately his people start making the same accusations?? This guy does not practice what he preaches. Doesn't sound like change to me.

    February 22, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. Chase

    I am an Obama supporter and not a Hillary basher. Who cares if she used the same words as her husband I am sure they spend a lot of time together on her campaign.

    February 22, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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