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. DEMS 08!!!



    DEM 08!!!

    February 22, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. Michael

    Last night the moderator brought up Hillary's use of the term "the willing suspension of disbelief." I wonder if even Hillary knows that's a steal–from Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Since I've always thought her intelligence was way overrated, I'm pretty much convinced she probably doesn't know who Coleridge is.

    February 22, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. Suzanne

    If Obama professes to be above the "silliness" he needs to tell his supporters the same thing. Talk about knit picking... I find it very interesting that nobody from the Obama camp has given acknowledgment of the "Yes we Can" slogan to Cesar Chavez who said it way back in 1974!

    February 22, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. David, Boca Raton, FL

    Any man that votes for Hillary is probably the one that has had a handful of relationships in which he had his wallet and back account drained from a woman or had no relationships at all. She is deceitful and corrupt and it takes a special kind of person to throw their support behind such an individual.

    February 22, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  5. Cory Tapia

    Good Lord...

    To GBryant, FloridaforHillary, ny independent, Jake, RC from VA, and all the other people claiming that Obama's campaign is making a big deal out of this:

    OBAMA's camp is NOT making the big deal out of this, the Main Stream Media is! Look on Barack's Website! Look at his speeches from today! He hasnt said a word about Hillary using other people's words. Just because the MSM says it doesnt mean that Obama's camp is saying it!
    Obama could care less, he's got more important issues at hand to talk about!

    February 22, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. RuperttheBear

    Hillary Clinton: Change You Can Mimeograph

    February 22, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. Current Nonsense Network

    Just words? Just not...'s

    February 22, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. Agnes, USA

    Hilary is the only person out there at the moment that besides saying right or "wrong" words people want to hear will actually do her job really well, not only that, she looks like a true leader! And she will be far more respected in the world for her mind and actions than Obama and MaCain put together.
    If she doesn't win, I have no candidate worth my vote whatsoever and this is truly sad. I see in her a person that really cares and will do something for this great country, not just talks....GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 22, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. Prayu

    She's been running on her husband's record all this time anyway, so I'm not really surprised.

    February 22, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  10. GOBAMA

    Who said this was from the Obama camp?
    Get your facts straight people

    February 22, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. DJ in Minnesota

    the hillary supporters on here could not be missing the point any worse...calling OBAMA a hypocrite over this is insane. She has tried to slander him for a week straight on this, then in another "New Hampshire Primary Crying Game Incident" she shows us her 'real side' and its NOT GENUINE.

    Sorry kids, its a story. And while the Edwards quote may not have been verbatim, the Bill Clinton quote really was.

    The POINT here, is that she is a hypocrite, the worst kind.

    February 22, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. trading wine for beer

    Someone asked me this morning "how are you?" I said "I'm fine"... then I realized I stole that from Hillary... or wait... maybe it was Edwards... or wait... maybe it was my pre-school teacher who taught me how to say hello........ That plagiarizing winch! Edwards and Clinton owe my pre-school teacher a royalty check. Or, maybe it goes back even further.....

    Note to Hillary Haters:
    Please people. YOU are grasping at straws, not Hillary. If you think Hillary calling Obama out on recycling other people's speeches without crediting them (which is much different than using catch phrases like "fired up" or "change" or "well be fine") is "Dirty tactics", then y'all are going to be crushed when the Repubs get ahold of him. My goodness. Bunch of whiny babies.

    Hillary can't blink without someone saying she contrived it.

    If Hillary sighs deeply, she's ripping off the environment and destroying the Ozone layer OR she's fake and trying to pretend she's a mere moral that needed more oxygen to get the sympathy vote.

    If Obama sighs deeply, he just helped a tree grow... which cleans our air, and can repair the Ozone layer. What a guy!! **eyes rolling**

    Spin Spin Spin.

    February 22, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. John

    The Obama camp is sounding desperate for having such a "commanding" lead. This just makes them look nervous.

    There's a big difference between two speeches that are exact word by word and some COMMONLY used similar ideas. You can copyright words but not ideas. Look it up.

    I'm an instructor at a college and I would have given Barack an 'F' for some of what he did (the word for word parts) and reported him to instructional services. Word for word copying without citing is never ever OK. All he had to do was cite it – the proper course of action would for him to just have last night given the guy credit, remarked he should have done it earlier and been done with the whole thing.

    Instead he's trying to argue that copyright laws apply to ideas. The don't ...they apply to words (that aren't common phrases).

    Honestly the Obama supporters are looking silly. They have been claiming victory for weeks and telling Clinton to drop out. Why would they be so worried after she had a touching, highly successful moment if that were the case?

    February 22, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. RJB2



    February 22, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. John

    Turns out your best shot Hillary was NOT YOUR OWN just words????? or have you driven the last nail into your nomination coffin

    February 22, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Humorous to see Clinton's silly attack turned back on her.

    February 22, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. FemaleVoter

    Oh, puleez. That's just silly politics.

    February 22, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  18. Mike

    You know, none of this would have come up if Hillary hadn't brought it up first. She's her own worst enemy, and it goes to show that what goes around, comes around. She's so desparate to gain some kind of advantage, contrived as it is, that she doesn't figure it'll boomerang back to her. Surprise – Obama's just providing the boomerang! Good riddance.

    February 22, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Fabi

    This article pin points at exactly what thousands of people are thinking about Sen. Clinton. If any one is a talker, its Hillary... Not only she points out Obama is not using his own words, she has the nerves to do the same probably without permission and expect people to believe anything she says. Its clear that she still has some convincing to do and using her personal drama to boost up her votes in the campaign may or may not work. Its also clear why she let the former President, her husband, Bill Clinton stick around to be used by her. Thanks to him... he has made her look more like a strong woman. I guess that makes them even.


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

    Ha ha ha @ Hillary

    ...and for all of you who are feigning shock that Obama is a hypocrit for bringing this up, keep in mind that Obama would never have even mentioned Hillary's plaigerism if Hillary hadn't turned this non-issue into a huge deal.

    I'd also like to point out that Hillary lifting a line from Bill is very comprable to Obama lifting one from Patrick. Both Bill and Patrick are close friends of the candidates and leading members of the respective campaigns.

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

    After reading all of this back and forth, she said, he said junk, I feel like America's intelligence level is really depleted. WHO CARES?

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

    CNN you make me sick.........I'm tired of watching the hard on you have for OBAMA each night........try reporting the news.
    The daily show has better unbiased reporting than you.

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

    Obama continues to sound "above it all," as if his campaign would never stoop so low as to accuse anyone of plagiarism. And here they are, decrying the most beautiful response of these entire debate cycle, the one response that left everyone feeling positive about the campaign.


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


    She's so slimy. It's almost funny in a way.

    Well, correction, it's funny in that we're seeing the last of the old political dinosaurs going down, while the newer, faster, fresher mammals are scurrying about under foot.

    If it were still acceptable to run campaigns like this, it would be more depressing.

    I'd have loved to vote for the first Female President – but both parties need to give me a woman worth voting for. Yeesh.

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

    "change we can xerox"

    it seems like life is not without a sense of irony.

    texans for obama

    February 22, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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