WASHINGTON--Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama lifts some lines from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick when he defended himself Saturday night about being an inspirational speaker who may have more sizzle than steak. In doing so, he borrowed a riff from Patrick (a native Chicago South Sider) who shares with Obama a key strategist, David Axelrod.
"Don't tell me words don't matter," said Barack Obama at the Wisconsin Democratic Party Founders Day dinner on Saturday in a rebuttal to Hillary Rodham Clinton's assessment that he is about "speeches" and not "solutions." He then goes on to quote some very famous lines. Just about the same thing Patrick said in a speech in 2006, when he was running for governor. Patrick is endorsing Obama.
Jake Tapper of ABC News has a detailed article about the Obama-Patrick swapping back and forth of campaign slogans and lines. LINK
Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times has an extensive piece on the Obama echo LINK
Obama said on Feb. 16, ”Don’t tell me words don’t matter. '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, referring to his opponent, Kerry Heakey, said on Oct. 15 2006, “but her dismissive point and I hear it a lot from her staff is that all I have to offer is words, just words. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident,’ just words? Just words? ‘We have nothing to fear itself.’ Just words? ‘Ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country.’ Just words? ‘I have a dream’--just words?
The Obama campaign is circulating this videoto ....
Obama, asked about this at a press conference in Ohio:
Question: [paraphrase] Regarding Mike Allen’s Politico story on Obama plagiarizing Deval Patrick’s speeches.
Obama: Now hold on a second—I have written two books, wrote most of my speeches, so I think putting aside the question that you just raised in terms of whether my words are my own I think that would be carrying it too far. Deval and I do trade ideas all the time. And, you know, he's, you know, occasionally used lines of mine and I at a JJ dinner in Wisconsin used some words of his. And, you know, I would add that I know that Senator Clinton on occasion has used words of mine as well. And, I don't think that, you know, that's really the kind of stuff that the workers here are concerned about. What they're concerned about whose is actually going to make sure that they got jobs here in the United States that pay a decent wage, who is going to ensure that we are providing opportunities for young people to go to college, and who is going to provide health care to people in need. So, you know, I'm happy to give Deval credit as I give to a lot of people who are spurring all kinds of ideas. But I think that it's fair to say that everything that we've been doing and generating excitement and the interest that people have had in the elections is based on the core belief in me that we need change in America. And that's been heartfelt and that's why I think it's been so effective.
Question: [paraphrase] Why didn’t you credit Gov. Patrick at the time?
Obama: I was on the stump and you know he had suggested that we use these lines, I thought they were good lines, I am sure I should have (background noise—BO inaudible). You know as I said before, I really don't think this is too big of a deal. You know 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 anybody sort of suggests that somehow she's not focused on the issues that she's focused on.