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« McCain & Obama Win Other Rounds | Main | Officers in US Military: Elected Leaders are Somewhat Uninformed or Very Uninformed About the Military »

February 20, 2008



Wow, what a hack job. Not you, Ms. Welsh.

I'll link to the response I read yesterday that I thought dealt with this pretty well:

The Clinton campaign is basically saying "it's OK for Hillary to borrow lines from other people's speeches, but not for Obama to do it, because Hillary doesn't make pretty speeches like Obama does". Really, that's their argument. They're not idiots, so they know that's an unsound argument. They've steered clear of explicitly calling this plagiarism, because they know better.

You're right that Obama *could* have said "As a good friend once said...", but the question is, did he have to? Given the nature of the media of political speech, I think the answer is no. Pretty clearly no.

I see this story as only marginally newsworthy. Again, we already knew he had people who wrote speeches for him. The fact that one of them had delivered the speech before is different, and newsworthy. But if Obama spoke with the guy in advance, and the guy gave Obama permission to use the speech, then he's essentially just another speech writer. Unless I'm missing something, the rest of this is just the media, and the Clinton campaign, and some Clinton supporters like Ms. Welsh, trying to make hay out of something.

The Obama autobiography accusations are new to me, too. How significant they are depends on what they are about. Taking some literary license in autobiographies is pretty common. It's really a matter of context and opinion whether condensing a couple people in his life into one person significantly alters the nature of his personal story. I won't give him a pass on this, but after the rest of Ms. Welsh's column I'm not inclined to take her at face value.

D. Cupples

Adam, I'm getting so tired of the campaigns. I can't wait until it's all over. What about you?


Yeah, I think it's inevitable that things descend into personality politics and identity politics at this stage. I know that when the time comes I'm just going to gather all the information I can about the candidates and make a choice, and most of this stuff won't matter.

Although I hate the direction the Democratic nomination race is headed, I do understand why some Dems have issues with Obama. He really hasn't been on the scene that long, which may be a positive in some ways but it does raise questions about what he would focus on as president. He's remarkably accomplished given his time in public life, but it's still not a long history to look at. I get why Damozel says she'd love to have him as a candidate in eight years.

The bright side is that we are getting to know the candidates better. The actual attacks being leveled are basically meaningless, but seeing how candidates respond to the pressures of the campaign trail do give us some insight into their natures. (And I suppose it's worth knowing if an actual scandal is discovered.)

On that note, here's a neat piece applying a popular personality analysis to the candidates:

One more nice thing - I already know I'm going to like the 44th president more than the 43rd.


I don't like Obama because I won't vote for a celebrity of the moment. There is nothing to back him up. His inspirational words are not his. He has nothing to offer just change and hope - and that doesn't put food on the table. I also don't like the way he brushed aside those charges of plagiarism as unimportant because that says a lot of the man. Plagiarism is theft. Any student knows that. Authors fight against plagiarism and their associations stress ethics and standards against it. So I don't know what is more disturbing - that a presidencial candidate is too stupid to quote a source or that it doesn't matter to him even if it is a theft, making his ethics suspect. Lets inspire our children to use the "Obama defense" when they get in trouble in college with charges of plagiarism.

I know Obama walks on water. I know he is winning the popularity vote. Women scream and faint in his presence. They scream, "I love you" as if he were a rockstar, but even if Oprah offers a car, I need some ethics from a president. And I don't understand how it seems unimportant to address this issue. I can't vote for someone who doesn't have ethics or speaks the truth. And saying that my friend gave me permission, goodness gracious, that is no defense!

D. Cupples


the psychologist that I quoted above also mentioned the example that un-attributed borrowing would set for children.

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