Discerning or Desperate? Clinton Accuses Obama of ‘Plagiarism’

Patrick and Obama
Deval Patrick: "This guy's good!" Photo: Getty Images


Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama spent Presidents' Day weekend bickering. Clinton's campaign called out Obama for “plagiarizing” Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick in one of his recent speeches; Obama admits he should have credited Patrick but says that the two are good friends who often discuss speech-making ideas (Patrick has come out in Obama’s defense). The accusation either marks a new level of pettiness for Clinton (whose campaign, by the way, now admits they will probably go after Obama's pledged delegates) or a valid critique of Obama’s honesty. Whether the issue will be on primary voters' minds today remains to be seen, but as always, the pundits have plenty to say about it.

• David Kurtz is not impressed with Clinton, saying her argument boils down to, “He's no better than me.” [Talking Points Memo]

• Mark Hemingway believes that whether or not Obama is a plagiarist, anything that gets voters to take a closer look at the substance of his speeches will ultimately help Clinton. [National Review]

• Mark Ambinder agrees, writing that Clinton is essentially asking whether inspiration is useful in solving problems, and that this conversation can only benefit her. [Atlantic]

• Ari Melber thinks this helps Obama by playing into his characterization of Hillary as practicing the divisive politics of old. [Nation]

• Matt Lewis speculates that the accusation could slowly begin to undermine Obama’s pristine image. [Town Hall]

•. Taylor Marsh rails against Obama, saying he’s “played his supporters for suckers,” because he’s not an original politician if he’s using other people’s words. [HuffPo]

• Will this affect the votes in Wisconsin and Hawaii today? Jose Antonio Vargas reports that Clinton doesn’t know, but she’d probably appreciate it if the media discussed it. “I leave that to all of you to figure out,” she said late last night. [Trail/WP] —Dan Amira

For a complete guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.