Deemed “Mr. Change” by Time Magazine this month, Barack Obama is now being accused by Clinton advisors of borrowing some of his rhetoric from the speeches of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, according to yesterday’s Boston Globe. Watch the video here
For high school I attended a predominately white private school in Los Angeles. It always amazed me how some White students would react when African American students got into a very prestigious college, such as Harvard or Yale. There was always those one or two people who would say,
“She only got in because she’s Black.”
or even worse,
“The only reason they let him in his because he lied on the application….did he REALLY do 1,000 hours of community service?”
In other words, some students were so convinced that these very talented students could not have gotten in based on their own merit–it had to be because of their race or by other means that have nothing to do with their own talent, originality, and intellect.
These accusations of Obama lifting whole lines from Patrick’s speeches remind me of those times. Why is it so hard to believe that Obama may very well have found a way to define himself as a candidate, and arguably, the democratic party–on his own merit?
Not to mention that David Axelrod, Obama’s campaign manager, was also the campaign manager for Governor Patrick. As a media professional, I would expect there to be slight similarities in the way messaging strategies are carried out in both campaigns. That, however, is not the same as plagiarism.
Furthermore, it is important to note that Senator Obama is in a lot of ways carrying on the tradition of civil rights and social justice leaders of our time in both speech and manner, and he has acknowledged this fact. But I would want a candidate who gies credit where credit is due when it comes to the fight for equality; before Obama there was King, Chavez, Randolph, Wells, Rustin…and if I keep this list up, we’ll be here all night.
Bottom line: Strong accusation, weak evidence. Nice try, Clinton camp.