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Obama Also Plagiarizes From John Edwards

From of all people, Dana Milbank at the DNC’s Washington Post:

Obama by the Numbers: Twice-Told Tales, and Nine in a Row

By Dana Milbank
Wednesday, February 20, 2008; A02

HOUSTON, Feb. 19 In the lavatory aboard Barack Obama’s campaign plane, a cartoon shows the Clintons attempting to roast Obama in a cauldron. Bill stirs, Hillary adds salt and pepper. But Obama is smiling, and all that emerges from the pot are bubbles labeled “Hope.” …

On Tuesday morning, the Clinton campaign publicized another case of Obama apparently appropriating Patrick’s words: a quote from last year (“I am not asking anybody to take a chance on me; I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations”) that was strikingly similar to one that Patrick uttered a year earlier (“I am not asking anyone to take a chance on me; I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations”).

Still, Obama seemed to borrow anew on Tuesday at an outdoor rally in San Antonio — this time from former foe John Edwards. Criticizing pharmaceutical companies’ ads, Obama joked: “You know those ads where people are running around the fields, you know, they’re smiling, you don’t know what the drug is for?”

Compare that with this staple of Edwards’s 2004 stump speech: “I love the ads. Buy their medicine, take it, and the next day you and your spouse will be skipping through the fields.”

The likely nexus: top Obama adviser David Axelrod, who played a similar role for Patrick in 2006 and for Edwards in 2004. That may explain the list of lines Obama lifted from Edwards — whose campaign compiled a list of the offenses before the candidate dropped out of the race.

Here’s Obama’s announcement speech in February 2007: “I know I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.”

Compare that with Edwards’s 2003 announcement speech: “I haven’t spent most of my life in politics, but I’ve spent enough time in Washington to know how much we need to change Washington.”

“We need a president not afraid to use the word ‘union,’ ” Edwards told a steelworker audience in July 2007. “We need a president . . . who is not afraid to mention unions,” Obama said a month later. Edwards, accepting the party’s vice presidential nomination in 2004, said, “Hard work should be valued in this country, so we’re going to reward work, not just wealth.” Obama, in turn, has been heard to say, “We shouldn’t just be respecting wealth in this country, we should be respecting work.” … 

Axelrod, the Obama strategist who authored many of the phrases the candidate borrowed from Edwards and Patrick, preceded the senator to the floor. On the jumbo screen, the campaign played a music video by the Black Eyed Peas’ “will.i.am.” Its title, “Yes We Can,” is a signature slogan of the Obama campaign — and before that, of Deval Patrick, not to mention César Chávez and Bob the Builder…

The problem with Mr. Obama’s excuse — that he has the same speech writer as Edwards and Patrick — won’t sit too well with the faithful who believe every word he speaks comes straight from his heart, rather than Mr. Axelrod.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, February 20th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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