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. Mark Oboyle

    Hillary's closing remarks were so phony, all she did was try to pull at the heartstrings of the Amerian people, she had a few minutes to think about her answer because Barack answered first. I would've liked to seen a closing question be different for the candidates so 1 of them will not have a disctinct advantage to prepare a perfect answer. Hopefully someone sees this and will apply it to the Ohio debate. Hillary said she wanted them to be her own words when she speaks, if I was Barack I would've point blank asked her if she writes her own speeches, we all know what her answer would be and she would've looked quite foolish – Mark

    February 22, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Sehj

    I REALLY don't think the Obama campaign is going to blow it out of proportion like the clintons did, but don't even TRY to divert our attention from the REAL issue here. the Clinton campaign JUMPED at obama for plagiarizing from his friend...Hillary Clinton just plagiarized from her ex-presidential RIVAL. i'm just blown away by the blatant double standards that her campaign has employed- and i think it should DEFINITELY be recognized by the Obama campaign.

    February 22, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. BJE

    So Clinton borrowed from Clinton? If this is the best the Obama News Network can come up with today I guess we can chalk it off as a good day

    February 22, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. corvus corax

    HRC guilty of hypocrisy "you can Xerox."

    February 22, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  5. Dave

    As usual, Obama can get away with something that no one else can. Typical media mindset toward the minority "victim" .

    February 22, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. Keith, GA

    I disagree, I think Hillary has gone through more than most Americans. Few Americans have needed to find the courage to stand by supportive of a spouse who's adultery and lying under oath lead to purjury.

    February 22, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. Gmoney

    You're missing the point, GB and Fla.

    It's not that she did it.

    It's that she did it after making such a big deal about the OTHER candidate doing it–in the same debate.

    So, let's either agree that a) it's wrong for both; b) it's acceptable for both when given permission; c) move on, considering we have many more important issues.

    I vote C.

    February 22, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. HP Boston

    Just empty men with empty words for empty headed voters. As they say there is a sucker born every minute, just words!

    OBAMA / PATRICK the ticket that keeps on talking and talking and talking and saying NOTHING!

    February 22, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. Jackson

    Yes we SCAN!!!!! ... Obama hype is beginning to fade ... quickly.

    February 22, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. Maria F

    Kelly Anne – HILARIOUS!!!

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

    What goes around comes around..... Not only is she stealing lines from others, I received an email that said she will do anything to win and I believe this. She is being sponsored by the so called group"American Leadership Project" which is asking for $100,000 from her rich friends so she can continue on. I suppose she will use this for her negative ads against her opponent. I hope the American people wake up and see Hillary for what she really is.... This is old politics as usual wouldn't you say. And she said she is ready for change? I don't think so. We are tired of the smear campaigns, and the same old behind close door tactics in Washington.

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

    this is NOT surprising to anyone who knows the Clintons. Last night i sniffed something that seemed eerily similar to a lack of faith in Clinton's "we will be ok" line.

    Good, start walking your supporters through the "possibility" of defeat–it's only fair.

    Obama 08

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

    A shameless woman.

    February 22, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. GOBAMA

    Fishy Clinton. Don't accuse someone of doing something and then you do it. That's now cool HIllary.

    Go OBama '08

    February 22, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Nelson Rodriguez

    To me senator Clinton didn't still words from another person. She was talking about what she has going through life. if the editorial says that why don't they pin point that in the debate yesterday Obama lied and said that someone from his campaign let him used the "words". To me this one more trick from the Obamacans (republican with Obama). Lets see what is going to happen in the end. We can't wait in PA to vote for senator clinton. From this three candidates to me she is the only one that has the ability of fixing this country. As for Obama, I let him keep stilling from others. One day his own mud is going to splash in his face.


    February 22, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. J

    I think you all need to realize that at no point in the article does it say the accusation came from the Obama camp.

    Instead, it cites "Joshua Micah Marshall’s Talking Points Memo Web".

    February 22, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. Karin

    All I have to say….Is make sure you listen to what you say….xerox words….not only did she do the same with words from (John Edward and McCain)…but she trying to do the same as in becoming the president.(XEROX Bill Clinton).They had the chance lets not Xerox the White House over again.

    February 22, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  18. reader-of-many-sources

    I think it is hilarious that the one shining moment of the debate for Hillary was actually borrowed from Bill Clinton / John Edwards.

    February 22, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  19. Rose, MD

    I am an Obama supporter but i think his campaign needs to stop with the petty stuff. You are starting to sound like you are in the wrong camp. Do you know anything that Obama represents, it is definitely not silly politics. Just stop it now!

    February 22, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. Matt

    Hillary has not made her speeches central to her campaign. Obama has. Therein lies the difference.

    February 22, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  21. Arkansas Undertaker

    Well I guess Hillary has been Xeroxing a few words herself. I can tell you that the Obama campaign is not going to make an issue out off that like the Clinton camp.

    That phrase really bomb last night when she thought she was going to get a knock out......LOL

    "OBAMA 08"

    February 22, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. Steven

    Why are yall so negative on Clinton aso much more than Obama? I truely believe if she loses this nomination its due to the media's love fest with Obama. You do not relize your influence over people and should be covering both canidates equally.

    February 22, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. Raphael

    Too bad none of you fools have a voice in Texas Primaries..HAHHAHAHHA That is major laughing point as me and the rest of my LATINOs from South Texas put Hillary first in Texas..HHAHAHHA

    February 22, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  24. Wiselectorate

    Hilary has just been caught in her own trap.

    After all is said and done, I think the Obama people are trying to say that. " You dare not accuse your oponent for something that you and other politicans always do".

    Enough said.

    Obama 08

    February 22, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. Stephanie

    I don't understand why nitpicking has become the focus of these campaigns. Does it really matter who gets the nomination if it is based on "he said/she said"...why can't we move on from 'that's not fair, he/she got to do it' kind of politics and move on to the issues. If the Democratic party doesn't stop looking like a bunch of finger pointing children it won't matter who is up against McCain.

    February 22, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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