By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Who wrote Clinton’s attack line?

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both turned in strong performances tonight, and Clinton’s closing statement was moving. But she may have really blown it when she leaned too hard on Obama’s use of a few lines from Deval Patrick — who, as a prominent Obama supporter, basically qualifies as an unpaid speechwriter.

“That’s not change you can count on, it’s change you can Xerox,” she said. Question: Who wrote that line for her? And, assuming she didn’t write it herself, how does that make her any different from Obama — or any other politician?

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The feeding frenzy is under way


And about that closing


  1. Anonymous

    No matter who wins for the Democrats, one thing must be done … Beat John McCain! McCain is another George Bush, and that means more of the same Republican bs if he is elected. I am, George Vreeland Hill

  2. Anonymous

    Clinton, a hypocrite, who ended the debate using words taken verbatim from John Edwards also said only minutes earlier about Obama… “If your campaign is going to be about words, they should be your own words,” she said. “Lifting whole passages isn’t change you can believe in; it’s change you can Xerox.”

  3. Anonymous

    The question that I would like to pose is this… why do we as Americans, a nation of millions of citizens, see nothing wrong with the fact that we have had a father and son as presidents, and potentially a husband and wife as presidents? There are scores of extensively qualified politicians in this country. Why do we perceive this as a normal condition? The truth is, It is dynastic. What we need more that a new face in the White House is a new attitude about the political process. How can we ever expect to effectively address our issues and move forward as a nation when we remain complacent with business as usual by the same old faces who have consistently benefited no one but themselves? I really don’t think that there was a single elected president who was not aware of the awesome responsibilities of the office of the president on “Day One”. Please wake up America and demand change!

  4. Robbie

    Why does CNN continue to run Hillary’s little dig about the supporter who came to an interview unprepared? I could care less about the learning curve of this individual she seems focused on, as if his inabilities prove some truth about Obama’s accomplishments. They only prove that man’s shortcomings – and hers for not recognizing that fact. It is an insult to Obama – and to the audience Hillary seems to think she can dupe. Is CNN trying to stir a fight, since the candidates are taking the high road?

  5. Anonymous

    The real villian here is CAMPBELL BROWN!!! Could someone please tell her that journalist are suppose to be fair and unbiased, especially during a debate. Where did she get her degree from; CAMPBELL SOUP UNIVERSITY? Hillary Clinton looked great. She came to the stage confident and refreshed, as if she was ready to take on the world. Then, I began to notice Campbell giving her an edge. She (Campbell Brown) called Barack on the real estate scandal, the petty plagarism accusation, and her coanchor seemed emphasize Barack’s $91 million earmarked funds, while minimizing and even answering for Clinton about her $341 million earmarked funds. (Yes, I did hear him say something to the effect that Barack’s was one of the lowest, however, the facts still remain.)What I wanted was to hear two candidates discuss the issues concerning America WITHOUT journalism SPIN. People do your job, ask the hard questions to BOTH candidates. America wants the truth and NOT your opinion. The candidates were great. Barack as always gave us his ideas on how he believes the country should be ran, and he should not be punished for being enthusiatic and passionate about it, and Clinton gave us hers. I can’t really comment much on the candidates because Campbell Brown, made it an unfair fight and that seemed to overshadow the debate. Hope you do better on your knew show hon’ or it’ll be a short run. In the mean time freshen up on some journalism 101.

  6. kjlassoc

    Maybe I’m nitpicking but the use of the term “Xerox” suggests that the people working on Hillary’s campaign are already collecting AARP benefits. I’ll bet that the average person now thinks of Xerox as a printer company rather than the original photocopier producer.

  7. 4Moms2B

    I dispute the allegation that Campbell Brown was not impartial. However, as someone who is frustrated with the media’s lack of scrutiny of Sen. Obama and endless rumor-mongering against Sen. Clinton, I WISH she HAD given Sen. Clinton an edge, just to even the playing field. The media, with their nonsense jibber-jabber and misinformation, has NOT allowed it to be an even playing field. As for American dynasties, someone has to point out, WHAT IS WRONG with that??? The problem in the Bush case was Bush Jr. is an idiot. But if the candidate is as accomplished and passionate as Sen. Clinton, then her bid for the presidency is legitimate. Would you have stopped Bobby Kennedy from running because his brother was already president? This is the kind of ridiculous non-issue that has floated Sen. Obama to the status of rock star. If he were also a female candidate, with the discrepancy in their achievements and knowledge, this wouldn’t even BE a conversation.

  8. Anonymous

    Maybe someone should tell Hillary that Xerox(TM) is a copywrited term. We wouldn’t want her to get in trouble for plagerism now would we . . .

  9. Erick

    Two clips of Hillary’s “plagiarism” at the end of the debate during her “best moments.” Why doesn’t the media cover these?!

  10. GimmeABreak

    4Moms2B said… I dispute the allegation that Campbell Brown was not impartial. However, as someone who is frustrated with the media’s lack of scrutiny of Sen. Obama and endless rumor-mongering against Sen. Clinton, I WISH she HAD given Sen. Clinton an edge, just to even the playing field. The media, with their nonsense jibber-jabber and misinformation, has NOT allowed it to be an even playing field. As for American dynasties, someone has to point out, WHAT IS WRONG with that??? There’s plenty wrong with it, and saying otherwise is disingenuous.The Adams at least had three administrations between their terms, and we as a nation passed a amendment after FDR’s 3 terms, because we didn’t want this sort of thing happening again.And let’s face it, women have just recently (and rightly) got the right to vote and hold office in political terms. Moreover, it’s been politically acceptable even more recently for higher offices. It’s not like a husband then wife presidency was an issue they’d see when constructing the executive.I’m not putting down the right of women to hold these offices, they should, but the dilemma the Clintons bids poise hasn’t really been discusses in our political landscape before.As for the Bushes, there was at least 8 years, a full 2 terms between the two. I think we can also agree, the dynamic between father and son is a whole lot different then that between Husband and Wife.To me, it comes down to this in this argument. If Clinton wins two terms, and then Jeb runs in 2016, there’s the possibility that the executive will have been rules for 36 years by just two political families in the United states!I think you’d agree that’s not what the founders had in mind when breaking from the king of England, and it’s not representative of a healthy democracy or electorate.

  11. elme

    In the debate Obama said he has been endorsed by every major newspaper in the state. Seems a bit odd to me & bears wondering WHY?Could it be ….. those advertising dollars …. the media lives by?There is a pattern to be seen across all forms of the media; a pattern that has been going on throughout this campaign. That pattern is strikingly ABNORMAL: no criticism, no scrutiny, no questioning of Obama, no blame for anything; Nothing but Promoting HIM.The other side of that coin is: criticism, scrutiny, questioning of HER every smallest word and move … taken to absurd lengths, even blaming Clinton for things Obama did – (for example, he turned to negative campaigning, first, but the media blamed HER for it); nothing but slamming the Clintons.This has been going on every day all day long in most of “the media”. Lots of other people Noticed it too and posted their complaints about this sudden “media madness” on media matters website.Curiously, the media ignores this highly Abnormal state of affairs – turns a blind eye to the Blatant absurdity of their “news” “coverage”. Just a few months ago suddenly, overnight all the TV media turned into Faux News.The media is failing to cover the Biggest Story of this election campaign: Their OWN Corporate Controlled FAILURE to do anything other than PROMOTE (SELL) their Corporate Masters Choice for Democrat Presidential Candidate: Barack Obama.The question remains: WHY?The deal killer for me on Obama for President is: 29 new nuclear power plants. The dirtiest, Un-Greenest, most expensive energy we can build.Obama voted FOR the Cheney Energy Bill passed in 2005 (H.R.6) – which enables the nuclear industry to obtain financing for their 29 new nukes – by Guaranteeing TAXPAYER Payback of those loans …. in the event of DEFAULT……. which the Congressional Budget Office rated at 50% or greater. (No new nukes have been built in the U.S. for the past 30 years because the banks would not loan money to build them – too risky).(…. …. & how would you like to take a quarter, or a half of everything you own …. whether that’s $100, $5000, $1 Million, several $Billion …. go to Las Vegas & place it all on one roll of the dice — which will get you — double your money ….. or Nothing? NO PROBLEM…..IF…. like the NUKE industry ….. — You Can’t Lose ….. since your fellow citizens of the USA will give you All Your Money back. Do you Think that’s capitalism, free enterprise?)Now, Back to WHY?McCain is in favor of building new nukes. Obama is in favor of building new nukes. Clinton is not and she voted AGAINST the Cheney Energy Bill.Three consortiums are planning to build those 29 nukes. Major players in those consortiums are: Excelon, GE, Westinghouse.Excelon is headquartered in ILLINOIS, Obama’s 4th largest campaign contributor, sends lobbyists to see him. GE owns NBC and MSNBC. Westinghoue owns CBS. They have many many thousands of products to ADVERTISE on TV, Radio, and in newspapers all over the USA. …. and they want to build those new nukes.(GE is the 2nd largest corporation on the planet)WHY has every major newspaper in Texas endorsed Obama? Got any idea yet?WHY are NBC, MSNBC, CBS, CNN, PROMOTING Obama for President/Slamming the Clintons? Got any idea yet?IF ELECTED, No matter what Obama might WANT to do …. does he have any chance of doing anything other than what the Corporations & the Corporate-controlled media who put him in the White House …. Want him to do?Obama repeatedly says ….. that his campaign has been financed by …. we the little people …… says …. he doesn’t take a dime from federal lobbyists (Registered with the Federal goverment) but that’s just lawyer legal-technicality-speak ….. because …. he does take money from REGISTERED Federal Lobbyist’s wives, husbands, aunts, cousins, law partners, state lobbyists, not registered lobbyists, and all the same Big$$$ sources as Clinton.Has the TV media ever Called Obama on his deceptive practice of fooling voters into believing he is fiananced by no one but the little people? No.Has the TV media ever Reported the FACTS …. that his money comes from the same lobbys & Big$$ corporations as every other candidate? No.That information is easily found on the internet. I know about it – don’t the TV media people know about it? Sure, but they sure aren’t telling you … the little people. WHY?WHY isn’t the TV media telling you there’s a real good chance Obama’s chances of getting elected will go down the tubes ….. after Antoin Rezko of Chicago (aka Tony the Fixer) goes on trial February 25th – prosecuted by Patrick Fitzgerald on bribery, extortion, and money laundering charges?Rezko’s low-income property financing (federal loans) was handled by the 12-person law firm Obama worked for; Rezko was an Obama fund raiser since Obama’s earliest days in politics; he was a member of Obama’s campaign finance committee when Obama ran for U.S. Senate; some of the ….allegedly…. extorted money went into Obama’s campaign coffers.Heard about ANY of this On the TV “news”? No? Who’s the REAL Reporter …. the TV Talking heads ….. or me?

  12. Anonymous

    Clinton stole her last words from Edwards and Her husband look at these vids

  13. ObamaRama

    Also, this race shouldn’t be about gender Vs. Race.So 4Moms2B, like so many other femenists, I’ll ask you to please stop it.Obama and Hillary are getting the same treatment in the media any other candidate would have. Justifying Hillarys horrible top down strategy and lack of a GOTV ground game is no reason to attack every other voting block as being sexist. Keep up with the horribly spun talking points, because it”s just making the case against Clinton more clear.the woman vote in WI broke 49-51 for clinton, so please leave the sexism out of this race, while Obama has won in at least every other demographic in other states, at one time or another.This reverse sexism you gals are pouring on is hurting Clinton, not helping.

  14. O-FISH-L

    At 9:57 PM Dan said: “…And, assuming she didn’t write it herself, how does that make her any different from Obama — or any other politician?”—Dan, I think what raises eyebrows with Obama is not that someone else wrote the lines, but that someone else had previously delivered them, publicly, on tape. Watch Patrick saying, “I’m not asking you to take a chance on me, I’m asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations.” Then 17 months later, Obama delivers the exact same words without attribution, and throws in some cadence and hand gesturing, it lends a snake-oil-salesman lack of candor to what he is saying. If there is much more of this parrotting, I think Obama will have a problem. Nobody likes a phony.

  15. Dan Kennedy

    Fish: Surely you know by now that Hillary’s close last night was almost word-for-word taken from something Bill Clinton said in 1992, and again from John Edwards at the Dec. 13 debate. Surely you also know that Deval Patrick has taken lines from Obama. (In fact, they probably both just took them from David Axelrod.)We could go on and on and on. This is nothing but politics as it is practiced in the real world. I think Clinton takes more criticism than she deserves, but in this case her attempt to turn it into something more than that is pretty sleazy.

  16. Anonymous

    When will somebody finally tell Clinton that THE VOTE TO GO TO WAR WAS BAD…? Will she eventually admit it was wrong? That, and that alone, is her major problem. She won’t admit it was a mistake….so in other words, she would do it again. Apparently Hillary has never been wrong about anything. Ready on day one…? Hardly.

  17. Anonymous

    Hillary is a doodyhead

  18. Anonymous

    Had Obama cried like Clinton did in New Hampshire and had he compared his life with solders, etc. like Clinton did last night…, he’d be doomed. Is it because Clinton is a woman? Are we voting for a President or a woman President? Are we setting a different standard?H. Clinton keeps talking about her experiences as solutions, but none of her experiences that she mentioned last night have made any difference. Her health deal started and ended poorly. Her talk in China about woman rights was jutst a talk, not an action, not a solution!

  19. Veronica

    I can tell all the Pro-Obama Hillary-haters are naive and new to politics. Obama will win the nomination, so win with some dignity. If you Obama people continue all these “off the charts” anti-Hillary rants they will lose at least 25% of her voters and can kiss the White House goodbye, so cut the crap now and stick to the so called positive message and hope and all that other fuzzy stuff that’s supposed to solve all our problems.

  20. Veronica Blue

    When the Democrats lose a third straight presidential election, they will learn a valuable lesson, don’t run a liberal movement candidate or you end up in McGovern and Mondale country on the wrong side of a 49-State sweep. Obama may do a little better and be in Dukakis country and it may just be a 40-State sweep. Okay, Obama will win the District Of Columbia and Illinois and likely Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island and Hawaii, so maybe he’ll be somewhere between McGovern/Mondale and Dukakis country.

  21. Jack Vaughan

    Most people agree that the story about Obama being a plagirist is a non-starter. And that is where the coverage ends. Obama has been open about his connectin to Deval. Their campaigns have clear parallels. ‘Change’ is in the air in both camps. So the story, I’d suggest is what has ‘change’ meant in Deval’s first year in office. Personally, I was optmisitc that a Democrat could bring relevancy back to the governership here – but the Governer of Massachusetts seems to continue as during Republican terms: An extra thumb and a stepping stone to elsewhere. Would Obama as president be different? [Can anyone say ‘Jimmy Carter’?] That’s a story I’d like to see covered.

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