The Clinton campaign accused Barack Obama of plagiarizing his speeches.
In the context of political folly masquerading as derring-do — the Clintons, via campaign communications director Howard Wolfson — are contending Barack is a fraud because his speeches are not his own:
Wolfson made the explosive charge in an interview with Politico after suggesting as much in a conference call with reporters.
On the call, Wolfson said: “Sen. Obama is running on the strength of his rhetoric and the strength of his promises and, as we have seen in the last couple of days, he’s breaking his promises and his rhetoric isn’t his own.”
“When an author plagiarizes from another author there is damage done to two different parties. One is to the person he plagiarized from. The other is to the reader,” said Wolfson. Obama closely echoed a passage from a speech that Deval Patrick, now the Massachusetts governor, used at a campaign rally when he was running for that office in 2006.
Here’s the YouTube evidence the Clinton campaign will direct you to for proof of their argument.
That isn’t plagiarism. There was no intent to deceive or to steal someone else’s ideas and propagate them as your own original material.
Here is Hillary stealing phrases from Barack. Is she plagiarizing him as the Clintons have accused Barack of stealing from his friend?
Here is Howard Wolfson — on television during the early January 2008 Iowa Caucus — as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews accuses him of stealing from Barack Obama:
That’s the same Howard Wolfson who claimed the Clinton campaign’s attack against Barack’s Kindergarten essay hoping he would one day be president was first a joke and then a mistake:
In a rare public admission of imperfection, the Clinton campaign has acknowledged that its universally panned decision to prove Barack Obama’s presidential ambitions by citing a Kindergarten essay — which it then claimed was a joke — was in fact a mistake. Spokesman Howard Wolfson calls it “clearly an unwise thing to do.”
These attacks against Barack by the Clinton campaign look unseemly and thin — as if they are foundering for any thread from Obama’s coattails that they can grasp to pull him back from leaving them behind. The most offensive part of this entire “phony plagiarism” scandal is that is discredits real plagiarism.
Plagiarism in schools and in research papers is a virus that eats creative thought and falsely claims original thinking. Plagiarism — and its deadly aftereffects — will be the subject of another Urban Semiotic
article here in the future; but for now, slough off the Clinton finger-pointing and name-calling and know it all for what it is: The Last Refuge of a Dying Campaign.