Democrat presidential hopeful Barack Obama from Illinois is accused of plagiarizing speeches from a 2006 speech by Deval Patrick, the Democratic governor of Massachusetts. The Obama speech entitled "Words Matter" was delivered in Feb. 16, 2008 during a meeting in Wisconsin and had several similarities with the Patrick speech delivered in 2006.
Particularly noticeable are the passages wherein both Obama and Patrick list famous historical quotes such as "I have a dream", "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" and "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" in an effort to demonstrate the power of words. Both speeches were delivered in an effort to defend the use of speeches and rhetoric as a campaign strategy. Obama has recently received criticism from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Clinton's side claims that Obama does not have enough political experience to be able to act as a president and that his campaign was built solely on words. In response, Obama delivered his "Words Matter" speech wherein he insists that words have the power to change minds and inspire citizens.
The Clinton campaign then latched on to the accusation of plagiarism, bringing to fore the similarities between the Obama and Patrick speeches. Both Obama and Patrick declared that no plagiarism has taken place. Obama reasons out that he and Patrick are good friends and that they often talk about strategies. Patrick delivered his "Just Words" speech in 2006 as retaliation to criticism that he was ill equipped to handle real political problems and that his campaign was running solely on well-versed speeches. According to Patrick, after Clinton made the same accusations of his friend Obama, he encouraged the Illinois senator to defend himself the same way Patrick did in 2006.
Political commentators note that both Obama and Patrick use the same campaign team, particularly the campaign leader David Axelrod, which may be the reason why their strategies are so similar. Obama even retorted that Clinton herself had begun to use some of his campaign buzzwords. These accusations of plagiarism are reminiscent of the incident in 1988 when Democratic presidential candidate Joe Bidden had to drop out of the race after coming under fire for plagiarizing a speech by Neil Kinnock of the British Labour Party.
Barack Obama began his political career after he announced his intentions of running for the Illonois Senate in 1995. He became a senator for Illinois in 2005, which was also the time when he was officially sworn in. Hillary Rodham Clinton was first exposed to politics as the First Lady during the term of her husband former American President Bill Clinton, which began in 1993. As a first lady, Clinton was appointed the chairwoman of the Task Force on National Health Care.
At the end of her husband's term, she was elected senator for New York in 2000 and was re-elected in 2006.
Barbara Ross is a writer for Famous Quote, Hollywood Politics and People's Democracy.