Thursday, February 21, 2008

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Hello, pot? It's Hillary Clinton's kettle calling!!

Hillary Clinton, February 21, 2008 debate with Barack Obama: "You know, lifting whole passages from someone else's speeches is not change you can believe in, it's change you can Xerox."

Hillary Clinton, later on in the same debate: "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."

Jack Stanton speech, in Primary Colors (New York: Random House, 1996), p. 162: "Y'know, I've taken some hits in this campaign. It hasn't been easy for me, or my family. It hasn't been fair, but it hasn't been anything compared to the hits a lot of you take every day."

I can't find the actual 1992 Bill Clinton speech upon which this fictional version was based, but I suspect there are some strong similarities. [UPDATE: Thank you, Josh Marshall -- "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."]

Josh Marshall picked up on this as well:

9:46 PM ... That was an interesting final moment to end on for Hillary. Candy Crowley is on CNN now saying how it was a good connect moment for HIllary, which I suspect it may have been. But we all do remember that those words were borrowed from Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign, right?

UPDATE: Politico's Ben Smith picks up some more lifted lines.

posted by Dan on 02.21.08 at 10:06 PM


Well, yes. But I have it on good authority that Sen. Clinton's staff talked her out of saying how much she cares "...about all those wonderful people out there in the dark."

posted by: Zathras on 02.21.08 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

John Edwards also used that line.

posted by: Neil on 02.21.08 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

Actually, Clinton did quite a bit of borrowing in her closing remarks.

There's even some side by side YouTube - See below - It's well worth watching and passing along.


Clinton took from Edwards

Clinton took from Bill Clinton

posted by: Suzie on 02.21.08 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

The line was from Susan Stanton in their "60 minutes" type interview and it was her saying it, not him.

The only difference in the line from the movie is that in the movie she says "the hits we are taking" and in the debate she said "the hits I have taken".

I love that movie and my ears perked up when I heard that.

posted by: david in norcal on 02.21.08 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

Wow... you mean you were actually familiar enough with that book to recognize a lifted line?

And I thought *I* needed to get a life.

posted by: Russ on 02.21.08 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

re: Russ

This is why it's a very very bad idea for students to commit plagiarism. Academics often have excellent if not near photographic memories for books, and sufficiently impoverished personal lives to have read an awful lot of them.

posted by: anIRProf on 02.21.08 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

Obama's entire segment was directly snatched from Patrick's speech...not paraphrased. Hillary's closing was paraphrasing at best.

posted by: Jennifer on 02.21.08 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

I think that Hillary has also been paraphrasing the pigs in Animal Farm. However, having no preference for either of these candidates, I must side with Hillary over Barack in the academic honesty debate. Barack Obama says nothing in his speeches, yet he still needs to plagiarize? That is absurd. At least Hillary says things that can be critiqued.

posted by: Joseph Sixpack on 02.21.08 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

This is childish and becoming incredibly boring.

Very little political speechifying is completely original, how much original can anyone say?

posted by: save_the_rustbelt on 02.21.08 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

Churchill wrote all his own speeches until the late 1940s. Theodore Roosevelt used himself as chief speechwriter as well.

It's expected today that politicians will have to rely heavily on speechwriters because they don't have time to write, because they may have to address technical issues with which they are not intimately familiar, or because many of their speeches must include material oriented to local audiences. There are also special cases -- Bob Dole was one -- of politicians for whom the act of writing is physically difficult.

But I have to say the thought of a politician who requires speechwriters for everything, all the time, has always made me uncomfortable. While I'm not a great admirer of Sen. Obama, I do give him credit for producing as much of his own material as he does. Repeating another politician's lines without attribution is unwise on his part, for reasons of appearances, but the ethical line between using lines used by another politician and paying a speechwriter to write lines one can use looks pretty indistinct to me.

posted by: Zathras on 02.21.08 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

I guess that your coverage of this inanity means that you've now graduated from a blogger to an MSM journalist.

posted by: Gene on 02.21.08 at 10:06 PM [permalink]

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