Are Melania Trump, Joe Biden & Barack Obama Plagiarism Allegations Similar?
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Are Melania Trump, Joe Biden & Barack Obama Plagiarism Allegations Similar?

Melania rarely speaks or takes a leading role in the campaign. Her testimony was rare and heartfelt. "With all my heart I know that he will make a great and lasting difference," she told the convention. CNN reported that she has been working with her speechwriter for five to six weeks on this moment.  (Getty)

“With all my heart I know that he will make a great and lasting difference,” Melania told the convention. CNN reported that she has been working with her speechwriter for five to six weeks on this moment.  (Getty)

Melania Trump is in the middle of a firestorm of allegations that she plagiarized parts of her Republican National Convention speech from a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama. However, how are the allegations against her different from past plagiarism allegations made against Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama?

Some made light of the comparison to Biden, especially, but others accused the media of a double standard.

Some pointed out that Donald Trump himself criticized Biden for those allegations. When Biden was considering running against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, Trump had said he would do well against him, CNN reported. CNN quoted Trump as saying: “I think I’d matchup great. I’m a job producer. I’ve had a great record, I haven’t been involved in plagiarism. I think I would match up very well against him.”

Many sites have run side-by-side comparisons of the Melania/Michelle passages:

Melania Trump, speaking at the RNC:

“From a young age my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise; that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily life.”

“That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son, and we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

Michelle Obama, speaking in 2008, at the Democratic National Convention:

“And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them.”

“And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children – and all children in this nation – to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

But what did Joe Biden and Barack Obama do and are the allegations really similar? The biggest difference: Biden was running for president when he was accused of plagiarism, not a candidate’s spouse; he admitted plagiarism, although he downplayed it; and there was a pattern of issues, not just one. The Barack Obama comparison is more similar, as he was accused of lifting pieces of a speech from another politician; however, he was also the candidate, and Melania is not.

On Tuesday, Trump’s aides blamed Hillary Clinton and media bias for the Melania controversy, and said no one would be fired, CNN said. A journalist named Jarrett Hill first uncovered the similarities. However, another person, Meredith McIver, an “in-house staff writer” at the Trump Organization, now says she was responsible for the Michelle similarities in the Melania speech.

Here’s what you need to know:


Biden Admitted Committing Plagiarism in School & Called It a Mistake

According to The New York Times, Biden admitted he had plagiarized a law review article for a “paper he wrote in his first year at law school.” The Times said Biden had called the plagiarism a “mistake.”

Biden also claimed the copying was not “malevolent,” said The Times, explaining that Biden said he “had simply misunderstood the need to cite sources carefully.” The allegations arose in 1987 when Biden was running for president. Biden was brought “before the disciplinary body at the law school during his first year” over plagiarism allegations, said American Thinker, quoting an old New York Times article. The charges dated back to the 1960s, and didn’t go anywhere, says The American Thinker story.

Melania Trump has not admitted plagiarizing the passages in her RNC speech that journalists and commentators on social media say bear similarities to the talk by Michelle Obama. Some on social media are suggesting that a speechwriter may bear the blame; however, a new video has emerged showing Melania telling NBC’s Matt Lauer, “I read once over it and that’s all because I wrote it with as little help as possible.”

Watch that video here:

And watch the side-by-side comparison of the Melania/Michelle speeches here:

Trump’s campaign spokesman issued this response to the plagiarism allegations against Melania, according to CBS: “In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking. Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”


Biden Was Accused of Plagiarizing a Speech by Welsh Labour Leader Neil Kinnock

According to the Uk Telegraph, a speech by the Welsh Labour Leader Neil Kinnock was recognized as “a dramatic and powerful piece of political rhetoric – making it particularly tempting, but also unusually unwise, for Mr. Biden to borrow its most significant passage without attribution to the British politician.”

History.com says Biden had used lines from Kinnock before but always credited him; he got in trouble when he didn’t credit Kinnock at one appearance at a state fair.

Here’s what Biden and Kinnock said, according to The Orlando Sentinel:

Kinnock said, according to The Sentinel: “Why I am the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? . . . Was it because our predecessors were thick? . . . Was it because they were weak, those people who could work eight hours underground and then come up and play football, weak? . . . It was because there was no platform upon which they could stand.”

Biden said, according to The Sentinel: “Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university? . . . Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? . . . Is it because they didn’t work hard, my ancestors who worked in the coal mines of Northeast Pennsylvania and would come up after 12 hours and play football for four hours? . . . It’s because they didn’t have a platform upon which to stand.”

Melania Trump is being accused of cribbing words from Michelle Obama in two paragraphs in her RNC speech. According to Slate Magazine, “Biden’s misdeeds encompassed numerous self-aggrandizing thefts, misstatements, and exaggerations that seemed to point to a serious character defect.”


Biden Took Details From Kinnock’s Life & Was Also Accused of Lifting Passages From Robert Kennedy

History.com says that Biden “even borrowed facts from “Kinnock’s life, stating inaccurately, for example, that he was the first in his family to go to college and that his ancestors were coal miners.” The History site also says that Biden was then accused of taking “passages from Robert F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey, and he was caught on camera exaggerating his academic credentials.”


Biden Left the Presidential Race in Part Because of the Plagiarism Allegations

Melania Trump is not the candidate; she is the candidate’s spouse. However, Joe Biden left the presidential race in 1988 in part because of the allegations. They received some media coverage again when President Obama chose Biden as his running mate.

Reported Slate in 2008, “The incidents of plagiarism and fabrication that forced Joe Biden to quit the 1988 presidential race have drawn little comment since his selection as Barack Obama’s vice presidential running mate.”

The Washington Post said other things contributed, including “the senator’s boastful exaggerations of his academic record at a New Hampshire campaign event; and the discovery of other quotations in Biden’s speeches pilfered from past Democratic politicians.”


Barack Obama Was Accused of Lifting Words From Governor Deval Patrick

According to Plagiarism Today, Obama was running against Hillary Clinton in the primary when he gave a speech in Wisconsin that “quoted a series of well-known speeches and documents from U.S. history, including those by Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy as well as the Declaration of Independence and asked if they were ‘Just Words.'”

As in the Melania speech, it didn’t take long for someone to unearth a YouTube speech of a 2006 talk given by Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts, says the site. Says Plagiarism Today, “In Patrick’s speech, he used many of the same quotes as well as very similar phrasing.” Obama said he shared ideas with Patrick, who defended him after the allegations were made, said Plagiarism Today.

45 Comments

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45 Comments

Sean McVeigh

Biden and Obama admitted it, whereas Trump refuses to admit the obvious, which is demonstrative of his lack of leadership and accountability. He’d rather his wife look the fool that take ownership of his campaign.

Anonymous

Well Hillary has made it impossible to vote for her.

Mike

That proves YOU are seriousley retarded, dellusional, and most of all referencing the worst fact checkers in the Universe

James Colbert

You never truly wanted to vote for him bro. So why not stop he BS.

afatalpapercut

Admitting you steal other people’s work justifies the practice? How the hell is admitting you plagiarize work demonstrative of leadership and accountability? Would they be apologizing or admitting anything had they been caught? They get caught doing something wrong and because they admit it that makes them stronger leaders??? W…t…..f?

God liberal logic is absolutely absurd.

doppdl

Biden dropped out of the 1988 race due to the plagiarism charges. Obama’s friend stated he had permission to use his words as they were good friends so it was not plagerism, however, he should have acknowledged his friends contribution. Rarely are the speech writers or contributors announced during a speech.

Brooks

if Obama had admitted it then you might have a case, but he said they just shared similar thoughts. Also, I would also ask if that is how MO described BO, where is the respect he has for all people, i.e. Christians and Conservatives, and where your word is your bond, where you say what you mean – i.e. the numerous lies and misdirections surrounding Benghazi, ACA (Obamacare) his first secretary of Treasury’s scandals, Iran Nuclear Deal, dealings with Russia, Cuba, etc…

Dr J

Melanie gave the speech, not Donald. If you have a beef with her using common words in her speech, take it to her, and then take Michelle to task for doing the same thing. Melanie is not running for president, Donald is. Besides, Obama’s “apology” was pretty phony. Right after “apologizing”, he accused Clinton of doing the same thing.

Gwright

He admitted what it’s said he quoted. Quoting and plagiarism are not the same thing most big speeches share old quotes from past leaders.

devindenv

Obama didn’t admit it, fool. He claimed he was “inspired” by Patrick and that they “shared similar views”.

Brandy

I wish I could remember; one of Michelle Obama’s speech so so similar with another 1st Lady speech. So Michelle Obama is also guilty of plagiarism.

Anonymous

So your faulty memory is an excuse for accusing Michelle of plagiarism? Your lame effort will be laugh out of any courtroom. If you can’t remember
any details you are opening up yourself to be a liar. .

Anonymous

She was accused in 2008 of the same thing. President Obama and Deval Patrick….he conveniently forgot to credit him….3 times…..Stop being so ugly to people who have a different opinion than you do.

julie

So, do any of you believe that Michelle Obama originated the expression,”Your word is your bond.” I found on example where Roger Moore said,”My word is my bond.”. And I’m sure the phrase didn’t originate with him. It’s a common expression. Do any of you believe that the idea that , “I was raised by my family to believe…Or that there is no limit to what you can achieve if you work hard, etc. etc. Those are common cultural phrases, not copyright material! Plagiarism requires that the majority of a work be copied, not, just 7% of an entire speech

drmarkbear

Sorry Julie, but the more excuses offered, especially when the current Vice President gave up his electoral bid for President, only – perhaps not in Trump’s mind but in the minds of nearly all logical thinking independents, who have also attained a modicum of education, make this issue worse for Trump’s campaign. Why? Because this is a pattern for Trump. Every single time he has been called out for something (i.e. mocking a disabled person) he denies he did so. Or, when accused of having violence at his rallies, he denies the violence.

Not only is Trump lacking in self-restraint, but demonstrates a sense of entitlement, and as Tony Schwartz – the real author of “The Art of the Deal,” is only concerned with one thing and one thing only; his ego. To go and send out to the world a Tweet indicating “all press is good press, including that press which is bad,” furthers the narrative Schwartz has now provided the world.

As the waiter down in Florida not only stymied Romney’s chance for being President, due to Romney’s 47% comment, this is what Independents (who always determine the outcome of the election) will remember moving forward. They will remember how fragile Trump’s ego “appears” (please note the word I used) due to his incessant hanging around the convention hall, working in harmony with the GOP to stop a roll call vote on the rules on day one of the RNC, only to be “bested” by none other than Ted Cruz during his speech, which led to his eventual need to control the situation by stepping back into the convention hall to ensure the cameras and attention would be sent his way, while demonstrating also on video his innate need for revenge (another disclosure by the ghostwriter for “The Art of a Deal”) by giving the thumbs-up to the Texas delegation. While I never would support Cruz, I admire his ability to remain while those booeing him took place.

Also, one cannot ignore how this all came to fruition: Trump did a fly-by in his darned jet directly over Ted Cruz’s rally held for his supporters, on the very day Cruz was going to give his speech. Trump now claims “He saw the speech before hand, and knew what Cruz was going to say and that it is no Big Deal.” Really? If anything Cruz demonstrated the party remains fractured at the worst possible moment, and furthermore, if Trump did look at that speech – which I speculate he did not – then he is guilty of poor judgement. He is after all the GOP nominee, and it is his Convention, and worse, it appears he remains very close to ensure things go just his way (again reinforcing the statements by Tony Schwartz who IS the real writer of “The Art of the Deal).

Trump demonstrates that while he may have struck a chord with a specific segment of disaffected voters in the nation, they in no way make up the majority of voters and furthermore, will want to control things from this point forward, yet will have very little control. He had his chance at being a leader by coming forward, telling the public it was inappropriate for those words to be uttered by his wife, provide a public apology to the First Lady and move on. Instead he decided to stir the metaphorical pot again, on day three of the convention! No matter how you slice it, dice it, or interpret it: he is NOT ready for Prime Time in the Big Arena!

Michael L Clark

Whoa,( Or, when accused of having violence at his rallies, he denies the violence.) Violence at his rallies come from disruptive liberals, democrats behaving the way they know best. He only denied Responsibility for Liberals and their inability to act civil when they disagree with another’s perspective . If you would like, we can compare facts on the behavior of liberals over conservatives. I don’t think you want to touch that one. I have a lot more ammo then you could ever muster up.

Anonymous

So all you can come up with is make front of the person by saying their faulty memory will laugh them out of any courtroom. I would think it should be reading would be laughed out of the courtroom, because I don’t think this person is going to be going to court over this, do you? Trumps wife joins, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden, all have been accused plagiarist. I mean it’s been said, that Michelle Obama has been accused of plagiarism in her 2008 DNC speech. From Saul Alinsky’s book “rules for radicals”. It always seems like liberals are do as I say, not as I do. You Liberals are just always crack me up because you sit there and say how people are making front of Hillary and bashing her and on and on and on and on. But Liberals are on Facebook putting pictures of Trump’s wife on there when she posed for Playboy. First of all, I would think that it was done way before he was even thinking about being a president. And you’re mentioning is this who we want to be the first lady? If you’re going to bring morals into the picture, then you should have thought about our president getting BJ’s in the white house because if you want to talk about something that’s immoral too me, not only was our President getting b******** in the white house he was married. End of story! Have a good day

Robert OKane

Obama: “Don’t tell me words don’t matter.” As then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) surpassed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary, largely on the strength of his oratory, Clinton said that Obama’s record was “just words.” Obama responded in a speech whose refrain was lifted from then-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. The Obama campaign did not even bother to refute the claim. Instead, it circulated examples of lines that it said Clinton herself had borrowed from Obama. The left media defended Obama, saying that he had not committed plagiarism, but merely, at worst, “poor footnoting.” Michelle Obama: “…the world as it should be.” In 2008, the aspiring First Lady was accused by bloggers of lifting lines for her DNC speech from Saul Alinsky. Alinsky wrote, in Rules for Radicals (emphasis added): “The standards of judgment must be rooted in the whys and wherefores of life as it is lived, the world as it is, not our wished-for fantasy of the world as it should be.” Michelle Obama said: “And Barack stood up that day, and he spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about ‘the world as it is‘ and ‘the world as it should be.’” (Perhaps Mr. Obama who left out the attribution.)

Anonymous

You wish you could remember, but somehow you’re certain enough that you accuse her of plagiarism? That doesn’t sound convincing, and I hope you’re smart enough not to jump to a conclusion after admitting you don’t remember.

Colin

She plagiarized Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals in her 2008 DNC speech.

Anonymous

That is right wing b.s. show the side by side script ala her and melania’s speeches. you cant because they dont exist. Do some research before you repeat debunked lies.

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