Monday, February 18, 2008

Last time the Dems battled this way, Reagan won the election

My daughter was telling me about something she read in the Huffington Post... Last time there was such a division in the Democratic Party - Reagan was elected (the guy whose name is all over the buildings in D.C.).

Clinton is not going to get anywhere by attacking Obama, especially now that the country is beginning to see him as the anointed one. It will just make her look like a sore loser.

Obama has been accused of plagiarism because he lifted 2 lines from a 2 year old speech given by one of his present campaign managers (Gov. Patrick). Personally, I don't think this is a big deal, considering the two work so closely together. It would have been totally different if it was someone else's speech and not Patrick's.

It is a shame the Clinton campaign is resorting to this... it undermines her credibility - and sees her less as a fair-minded lawmaker and more as an angry woman scorned.

Clinton Steps Up Attacks on Obama

Plagiarism, Financing Accusations Come on Eve of Wisconsin Primary

By Matthew Mosk and Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, February 19, 2008; A01

Aides to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) accused Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) yesterday of plagiarizing portions of a recent speech and continued to question his vows to reform the campaign finance system as she sought to drive home the idea that her Democratic rival's presidential bid is built on style more than substance.

The two-pronged attack came as Clinton attempts to slow Obama's momentum in today's contests in Wisconsin, which neighbors his home state of Illinois, and Hawaii, where he was born.

The race in Wisconsin, where Clinton dug in over the weekend in an effort to break a string of eight straight primary and caucus defeats, has turned increasingly negative. Just days earlier, Clinton aides accused Obama of breaking his pledge to accept public financing in place of private donations during the general election. Obama's aides say he did not make a firm commitment to accept public financing if he wins the nomination.

Yesterday, key Clinton supporters accused Obama of "lifting" a passage of the rousing speech he delivered to a party gathering in Milwaukee on Saturday night from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a longtime friend and supporter. The two passages, captured on side-by-side YouTube videos and distributed to reporters by the Clinton campaign, show Obama repeating, almost verbatim, lines from a speech Patrick gave two years earlier.

"The point we're making overall is that Senator Obama's record as a senator and as a public official is thin," said Howard Wolfson, a senior Clinton adviser. "If you're asking an electorate to judge you on your promises and you break them, and on your rhetoric and you lift it, there are fundamental problems with your campaign."

Appearing in Niles, Ohio, Obama said he didn't believe "this is too big a deal."

"Well, look, I was on the stump," Obama said when asked why he did not attribute the lines. Patrick, he said, "had suggested we use these lines. I thought they were good lines. I'm sure I should have. Didn't this time."

Obama later returned to Wolfson's assertion while speaking with reporters on his campaign plane. "The notion that using a line from one of my national campaign co-chairs . . . is somehow objectionable, somehow doesn't make sense," he said.

Obama's aides also called Clinton's criticism of his public financing plans "curious." They noted that she was also the first candidate in the 2008 field to announce plans to reject the public financing system, saying more than a year ago that she would attempt to use private contributions to finance a general election bid were she to become the party's nominee.

"We're just not going to be lectured on this," Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said.

Obama first raised the notion of accepting public funds in the general election a year ago, when he sought a ruling from the Federal Election Commission that would preserve that option for him. He said at the time that if the eventual Republican nominee entered the system -- in which the candidate accepts $85 million to fund a general election campaign and agrees to raise no additional money -- he would enter it as well.

Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), who is moving ever closer to accumulating the delegates he needs for the GOP nomination, reaffirmed last week that he would be willing to accept that deal and urged Obama to "keep his word" on the issue.

Longtime advocates of campaign finance reform sent Obama a letter last week expressing "deep concern" that he would back away from the financing system. At the same time, several left-wing blogs urged Obama to "break the pledge," arguing that he should do nothing to cede the fundraising advantage that Democrats appear to have gained heading into the general election.

The candidate's advisers said yesterday that his pledge came before anyone realized how explosive his fundraising effort would become. Reports due to the FEC this week will show that Obama raised $32 million in January, almost triple what Clinton raised. Nearly all of Obama's total came via the Internet.

"The outpouring from small donors has been unprecedented and perhaps unexpected, and I would not want to do anything to deny those donors the chance to participate [in the general election], regardless of who the Democratic nominee is," said Alan D. Solomont, a longtime Democratic fundraiser who is a member of Obama's national finance team. "To be blunt, the ability of Democrats to raise money from both small donors and others is a significant competitive advantage."

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said yesterday he considers the entire discussion premature, given the tough, unresolved battle for the party's nomination. To both campaigns, Wisconsin has emerged as a critical steppingstone to the March 4 primaries in Ohio and Texas, as well as a fight for the state's 74 pledged delegates.

As Clinton crisscrossed Wisconsin yesterday, she returned to what has become a central theme of her retooled, sharper-edged campaign. She told a standing-room-only crowd of more than 1,000 at the Wausau Labor Temple in central Wisconsin yesterday afternoon: "There's a difference between speeches and solutions, between talk and action. I was raised to believe that actions speak louder than words."

It was that very notion that Obama had tried to address when borrowing Patrick's turn of phrase during the Saturday night speech in Milwaukee. "Don't tell me words don't matter," he said. " 'I have a dream.' Just words? 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.' Just words? 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself.' Just words? Just speeches?"

Patrick used a nearly identical formulation during his 2006 campaign for governor, when he was drawing fire from his Republican opponent, who said his stylish speechmaking disguised a lack of substance.

At a titanium plant in Niles, Obama also noted that Clinton had appeared to borrow lines from other candidates, including her use of the signature Obama rallying cry "Fired up! Ready to go!"

"When Senator Clinton says 'it's time to turn the page' in one of her stump speeches or says she's 'fired up and ready to go,' I don't think that suggests that she's not focused on the issues she's focused on," Obama said.

Obama beat Clinton to Wisconsin, arriving last Tuesday to celebrate his victories in the Potomac Primary in front of more than 16,000 cheering supporters in Madison. He devoted more staff members to Wisconsin -- opening 11 offices in the state, to Clinton's four, and had television ads in circulation six days before she did. But Clinton made a late play for a state that offers her some advantages.

Although repeatedly detoured by winter weather, Clinton paid attention to rural and working-class voters in areas far from Madison and Milwaukee, which are considered Obama's prime territory. She ran television ads in markets including Green Bay, Eau Claire and La Crosse, challenging Obama's proposals on health care and energy policy and accusing him of refusing to debate her.

After a brief trip to Ohio to prepare for the potentially pivotal votes that will be held there and in Texas, Obama returned to Wisconsin for an election-eve rally.

Even before his return, though, Obama had retooled his speech so that he defended the transformative power of a rousing speech without using any of Patrick's lines.

"The only way that we're going to bring about change is if all of you get excited about change," he said in Youngstown, Ohio. "So I make no apologies for being able to talk good."

Slevin is traveling with the Obama campaign. Staff writers Jose Antonio Vargas and Alec MacGillis contributed to this report.

for link to article click the title of this post


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its a lot more than two lines. ABC's Political Punch blog dug a little deeper into this:

"Deval Patrick's Timeline Doesn't Mesh with Reality

February 19, 2008 11:42 AM

Speaking to the New York Times Sunday, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick attempted to excuse his friend Sen. Barack Obama's lifting of part of his October 2006 "Just words" speech.

“In a telephone interview on Sunday, Mr. Patrick said that he and Mr. Obama first talked about the attacks from their respective rivals last summer, when Mrs. Clinton was raising questions about Mr. Obama’s experience, and that they discussed them again last week," the Times' Jeff Zeleny wrote. "Patrick said he told Mr. Obama that he should respond to the criticism, and he shared language from his campaign with Mr. Obama's speechwriters.”

But Obama was quoted using Patrick's language before the Summer of 2007.

"'We hold these truths to be self-evident, all men are created equal.’ Those are just words," Obama was quoted as saying in a March 19, 2007 New Republic story. " ‘I have a dream.’ Just words.”

So....the claim that Patrick an Obama "first" discussed this last Summer does not make sense.

It should also be noted that in addition to the "Yes We Can" slogan that Obama used in 2004, Patrick used in 2006, and Obama uses today, other language from the two clients of political guru David Axelrod has come from both men's mouths.

To wit:

Patrick in June 2006, at the Massachusetts Democratic party convention: "I am not asking anybody to take a chance on me. I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations."

Obama one year later, as quoted in USA Today: "I am not asking anyone to take a chance on me. I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations."

Just words?

- jpt

UPDATE: Some folks have pointed out that when Obama borrowed the line on voting your aspirations in Portsmouth, NH, on December 21, 2007, he footnoted Patrick, saying, "Don't vote your fears, I'm stealing this line from my buddy, Deval Patrick, who stole a bunch of lines from me when he ran for the governorship, but it`s the right one. Don`t vote your fears, vote your aspirations."

But in my original post, I wasn't referring to that quote.

I was referring to a month before, in November 2007, when Obama according to news coverage stood on the steps of the Clarendon County Courthouse in Manning, S.C., and, according to USA Today, said:

"Now, I've heard that some folks aren't sure America is ready for an African-American president, so let me be clear," he told his mostly black audience. "I never would have begun this campaign if I weren't confident I could win. But you see, I am not asking anyone to take a chance on me. I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations."

Don't believe me OR USA Today? Fine.

Check out the Obama website where they have the speech posted -- no credit to Deval Patrick is given:

"Now, I've heard that some folks aren't sure America is ready for an African-American president, so let me be clear: I never would have begun this campaign if I weren't confident I could win. But you see, I am not asking anyone to take a chance on me. I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations."

Or watch it HERE."

Plagiarism charges should not be discounted just because the original person was ok with it. Thats just like saying its ok to copy off of someone if that person being copied on allowed him or her to do it.

I want to give Sen. Obama the benefit of the doubt, but it looks like Obama's campaign manager just rehashed Gov. Deval Patrick's 2006 campaign strategy and fit it into this one. The people of Massachusetts are not happy with Gov. Patrick's job performance by the way.

I try to stay open minded, but to attack Sen. Clinton for pointing this out is a lot like shooting the messenger.