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5 American Politicians Called Out for Plagiarism

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July 19, 2016
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Melania Trump has recently been accused of plagiarism in her speech last night at the Republican National Convention. A few of her lines appear to be lifted from a speech that Michelle Obama gave in 2008."My parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life. That your work is your bond, and you do what you say and keep your promise. That you treat people with respect," Trump said about halfway through her speechCompare that to Michelle's speech in 2008 "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."Unfortunately this is nothing new in Politics, on the right or the left; public figures have lift ideas from others often. Here are just 5 instances to put some perspective on this story:

1.) Senator Rand Paul

Rand Paul has been accused several times for plagiarism, in both his speeches and his book.

One speech that he made was directly lifted from the film "Gattaca," while another was nearly word for word from "Stand and Deliver."

Paul's book "Government Bullies" was also under fire for several plagiarized passages without attribution, including passages from Forbes, the Cato Institute, and the Heritage Foundation.

Paul eventually conceded that he had lifted the materials without attribution.

2.) Barak Obama

Obama came under fire in 2008 from Hillary Clinton when he lifted material in his speech from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. The plagiarized passage of his speech went as follows:"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 had made a similar remark in one of his speeches just two years prior.Hillary criticized Obama saying you should use "your own words," when making a speech. Obama pointed out frankly that, "...on occasion Sen. Clinton has used words of mine as well," and, "Deval and I do trade ideas all the time, and you know he's occasionally used lines of mine."

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3.) Ben Carson

In 2015, the Presidential Candidate was cited with plagiarism when several passages in his book "America the Beautiful" were found to originate from other sources without attribution. Included were passages from CBS, a site called, and a myriad of other online articles.Carson eventually issued an apology for the lack of attribution, and worked with his publisher and editors to fix any mistakes.

4.)Vice President Joe Biden

During the 1988 election, Biden, then a candidate for the presidency, was accused of stealing a passage from another speech made just four months prior by British Labour Party member Neil Kinnock.

While Kinnock had said:

"Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? [Pointing to his wife in the audience:] Why is Glenys the first woman in her family in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because all our predecessors were thick?"

Biden's speech included these lines:

"I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university? [Pointing to his wife in the audience:] Why is it that my wife who is sitting out there in the audience is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? Is it because I'm the first Biden in a thousand generations to get a college and a graduate degree that I was smarter than the rest?"

After the scandal was publicized, Biden was forced to withdraw from the Presidential race.

5.) Senator John Walsh

This senator was thrown into scandal when it was found that two-thirds of his master's thesis was found to be plagiarized. The sources were largely not cited. After the New York Times released it's report on the subject, Walsh was forced to withdraw from his re-election campaign.

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