And so did Obama
Ecclesiastes 1:9: “There is nothing new under the sun.”
Well, that goes for the content of most political speeches, too.
By now you may have seen the day’s leading headline — the one that posits Melania Trump’s speech Monday evening at the Republican National Convention was “plagiarized” from a speech made in August 2008 by Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention.
To begin with, some of the most biased headlines lead one to believe that Mrs. Trump plagiarized her entire speech. This is false.
The truth, rather, is that two portions of Mrs. Trump’s speech are being called into question for their striking similarities to Mrs. Obama’s speech eight years prior.
The similarities came early on in Mrs. Trump’s speech and concern the values instilled in her by her parents as a young child growing up in Slovenia. Below are the two women’s speech excerpts for comparison:
Melania Trump — July, 2016: “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.”
Michelle Obama — August, 2008: “And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: like, you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, that 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.”
Here is the second portion in question:
Melania Trump — July, 2016: “We need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow,” she said. “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 — August, 2008: “Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values and to pass them onto 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 hard for them.”
The phrasing is very similar, and that is an unfortunate mistake made by Trump campaign speech writers — because the truth is, Michelle Obama’s 2008 remarks were hardly revelatory.
In performing a bit of research, I uncovered a quote from Will Steger’s 1989 book, Crossing Antarctica, which reads strikingly similar to Michelle Obama’s:
“As I learned anew in crossing Antarctica, the only limit to achievement is the limit you place on your own dreams.“
Let’s read that Steger quote again: “As I learned anew in crossing Antarctica, the only limit to achievement is the limit you place on your own dreams.”
Well, if Melania Trump is to be accused of plagiarism, then so, too, should Michelle Obama.
As stand-alone phrases — “work hard”; “treat people with respect”; “keep your promises” — these are really very generic. But in researching them as a combined sentiment, I came across the following excerpt from a 2001 obituary published in the Pennsylvania-basedTribune Review, in which a man wrote about his late father and the lessons he taught him:
“He [my father] taught me …. how to work hard, how to be respectful of others, how to play a guitar, how your word is your bond…”
Working hard, treating people with dignity and respect, and keeping your promises — or knowing that “your word is your bond” — are not groundbreaking concepts conjured up by Michelle Obama in 2008. Nor were they on Monday evening when Melania Trump made these same statements.
The values of honesty, hard work, and treating others as you’d like to be treated ring a lot more like the age-old “Golden Rule” combined with a little bit of the “Cowboy Code of Ethics” — the latter of which was adopted by many in the days of the Wild West.
“Work hard and be nice to people” is another way of putting all this, and it was also a slogan coined on posters by graphic artist Anthony Burrill in at least June of 2008 if not earlier — that is before Michelle Obama’s late-August DNC speech:
It goes without saying that the values touted by both Michelle Obama and Melania Trump are well-worn cliches espoused in speeches made by everyone from motivational speakers, to athletic coaches, to iconic “superheroes,” to CEOs of large companies, to just about every politician running for office.
She got caught copying Michelle’s homework WITHOUT Michelle’s permission
She has also lied about getting a university degree. She only completed one year.
“We need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow,” I am pretty sure Ronald Reagan said that.
I think I really could be convinced by Tiffany Gabbay’s argument, were it not for the fact that I’m not a complete idiot.
Would it have been too difficult just to concede that one of your speechwriters screwed up and got their notes regarding Michelle Obama’s speech somehow mixed in with their own working draft?
Instead, they’re turning what could have been easily acknowledged as simple and somewhat embarrassing oversight into a campaign credibility and integrity issue. It’s indicative of a serious problem with the Donald. Even simple errors can never be admitted. Instead, you deny the error, double down on your mistake, and try to bluster and push your way through it.
@Greg: Do you really think saying they had a copy of Michelle”s speech for a reference is such a good idea? All Hell would break loose. It seems to me more cliche and not plagarism. All the candidates wives say pretty much the same things. Maybe someone should take a look at those. It’s just stupid rhetoric because she did such a fine job. I admit I had my doubts about her but she is a lot more than eye candy. They had to think up something to say to distract people and plagarism is an easy accusation in politics.
Well, that’s certainly true in this particular case:
A phrase-by-phrase comparison
If any writer did that with an article or story they claimed to be their own, they would soon be hearing from someone’s lawyer. It’s not just similar; it goes far beyond paraphrasing. It’s the theft of someone else’s thoughts and words.
I don’t blame Melania. I’m certain she had no idea that the material was taken from Michelle Obama’s convention speech.
Usually the Trump reaction to any criticism is to ”own the downside.”
the ”downside” here is that those were EXCELLENT words!
Whether or not they were spoken truthfully by Michelle is questionable.
It is obvious from our public knowledge of him that Obama certainly does not live by those values…..
Obama didn’t work hard in life.
In his only high school job at an ice cream shop he ripped off the owner by handing out free ice cream to all his friends!
He took an affirmative action route through higher learning.
He took a large advance to write a book then failed to ever do so, finally enlisting the help of a lefty-fellow traveler to finish for him.
Treat people with dignity? Not if they were business owners, insurers, bankers, police or white.
How late was FEMA in coming to aid people in states led by people Obama disagreed with?
BUT, the words were great.
Also great were the rest of the words:
The only reason we don’t have links to the stoned – drunk Obama Daughter stumbling out of clubs is the power of the Obama’s to police the web.
The Obama’s older daughter took an “internship” so as to PARTY with Hollywood druggies for one summer. Now she’s taking a year off. Taught her well, I see. Then what cushy situation will she fall into?
Great words, however.
Stealing from Deval Patrick did wonders for Obama……
”Words, just words.”
@Greg: I saw the the phrase by phrase. I still don’t agree. If they actually looked at Michelle’s speech, the purpose would be to Not sound the same. It may even be subliminal suggestion. “Hmmm This sounds good” unaware where or if they heard it before. More likely writers who produce trite (my English teacher taught me that word) speeches. Possibly this is the Trump family rhetoric. I just don’t care.
@Greg: You still did not answer my question.:) Do you really think saying their speech writer even possessed Michelle’s speech was a good idea? What other than that would be a better way to handle this mini controversy. I am curious.
@Nanny G: Good summary or his words and missing deeds. Didn’t know about his daughter. Well the teens from previous presidents had their problems. Didn’t Jenna Bush get caught with a fake ID in a bar? Ford’s sons smoked pot in the Whitehouse. It is surprising there aren’t worse. Career politicians aren’t home much and teens do rebell. I do hate to hear she is with the Hollywood crowd, but all the Obamas love them. All narcissists flock together:)
Humor seen on Facebook. You have to be over a certain age, of course, or watch old cartoon reruns:
“Must make plans to kill moose and squirrel…”
Aww…. and in an instant…. POOF! It was gone.
ere’s what I find odd… Melania lifts some lines from a speech of 8 years ago… not critical, memorable lines, but statements about one’s word, legacy to children and so forth.
Within minutes of the speech, the left reacted with the exact portions of text that were duplicated.
Wow, now THAT is some random recall of a nothing speech. Now, if Melania had stated she was never proud of this country until her husband was nominated, THEN you’d have some fodder.
@Greg: Humor in this disaster is how I get by.
@Greg: Gumo on Trump
I hope this brightens your day.
@Nanny G: the power if Obama to police the web ????
Next thing. nanny will be telling us is that black helicopters are circling her house
@John: A celebrity news agency scrubbed a series of photos of Malia Obama after she visited a famous restaurant in Los Angeles last week, reportedly because the White House called and requested it do so.
The 16-year-old first daughter had her photo taken
It was July 7 at Gjelina
Malia is in the area doing an internship for Halle Berry’s TV show “Extant.”
The photographer sent the shots to the AKM-GSI celebrity news agency, which posted them on its website for media outlets to purchase. That’s when the Office of the First Lady called and asked them to remove the photos and delete them from their database.
AKM-GSI then sent out a message to the media that read: “URGENT SET KILL NOTICE.”
I saw these photos of an under-the-influence Malia having great difficulty trying to remain vertical.
Sorry you missed them.
At a different party Malia was playing beer pong and caught on film.
@Nanny G Malania, an adult woman, read a plagiarized speech written for her: So you’re gonna go after a 16 year old?–I can see why you’re a Trumpist Nan.
And where are any those pics of her playing beer pong ?
@John: The good ones have all been pulled.
They were on social media originally.
EVERY good one was pulled ? No concerned conservative like yourself was able to take a screenshot and save one ? Did you actually see one yourself and if so why didn’t you save it ?
The Clintons asked the media to refrain from covering Chelsea after she was mocked on Saturday Night Live. They did.
One more thing: I have used the same scripture quote, “There is nothing under the sun” to describe the Clintons. They just keep doing the same stuff for the past 30 yrs. Also, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” The secular version, “Follow the money.”
How does that quote apply to Trump?
The Clintons own 2 rather modest houses considering their wealth
One bought for 1.5 million and the other for 2.5. Million
They don’t own jets or super yachts
approaching 70 neither Clinton is all that interested in money but in how history will view them
They could accumulate more money by NOT being elected to the White House which pays a yearly salary which both could earn together in one day by making 2 one hour speeches
The left has had a very bad go of it lately. The FBI outed Hillary as a liar and law breaker and the politically corrupt DOJ refused to prosecute her. Then their little war on cops resulted in eight police officers being massacred in a little over a week with riots on top of it. Then the JV team, ISIS, struck another deadly blow in the name of Radical Islam, something they refuse to say exists. As such, they need something to get the attention away from news that doesn’t bode well for their ideology onto something else. It just shows how desperate they are.
@John: @John: I was not referring to Trump with either scripture quote. Money is not evil or the desire to have wealth. It is the Love of money, which cause people to do immoral, illegal things to acquire it. That is my view of Hillary. This blog started with the quote about nothing new under the sun. Hillary’s middle name is Graft. I really hate texting in bloggs because things get out of sequence and the comment does not seem to fit the discussion. That 1.5 million dollar home was given to them by one of the people who now sits on the Board of the Clinton Foundatiion. Hillary and Bill enriched themselves with all those speeches and gifts from foreign nations & political friends. She doesn’t need the money from the Presidency. She is after power now. But I doubt she will be able to keep her hands out of the cookie jar. Remember when they took all that stuff from the Whitehouse when they left and had to return it? I do. If you don’t know about Hillary & money then you are not paying attention. But maybe that is not meant by your comment. Clarify if you like.
Well I woukd agree with that she is after power but for what reason?
To leave the mark of Clinton in history by making change in the politics of America
The Clintons life has always been about public service and trying to make what they believe to be a positive change
It hasn’t been about the accumulation of money, and power only to make those changes they see as positive
@John: If you believe Hillary’s motives for power are to use it for the public good, then you can vote for her with a clean conscience. Hillary probably thinks the same thing about herself and Obama too. I just happen to disagree with what she says she will do with that power and how she will accomplish those things. Maybe you can overlook her personal flaws for the greater good. I do the same with some of the things Trump has said but I am all on board for the changes that need to be made in DC and a better path for my country. So he will get my vote.
I will add that when I first heard Trump was running I pumped my fist and said “Yes! Someone to fix our economy”. Then I had doubts and actually voted for Kasich in the primary thinking the economy is in the blue in OH and if Trump fails to show he is up to the task, Kasich might have a chance at the convention. After watching Trump on something other than main stream media sound bites and seeing the choices Trump has made, I think he is up to it.
And I cannot believe Kasich is being a Big Sorry Loser. He also sneaked the legalization of medical marijuana onto another completely unrelated bill under the radar and the public had no vote and no input on how it will be done. That is the political crap that sickens me and now am damn mad about. The previous vote on marijuna was only defeated because people did not like the way it would be set up, a sort of monopoly. So he and his political cronies did it their way. I am glad he is going OUT. End of my completely unrelated comment to the original topic. Glad I got it out of my system! Bye
@Greg: Well you were right. Portions of Melania’s speech were lifted from Michelle’s speech. Explanation given today by Fox News. An Trump employee, not with the campaign, helped her with the speech. The woman fessed up and offered to resign but it was not accepted. Melania did not know those were Michelle’s words and I do believe that.
Unfortunately you are a complete idiot, because you assume that Melania personally, lifted a scant few similar and universally felt comments, from a nearly completely different (i.e read the whole damn speeches, they are not the same,) Michelle Obama speech in which she possibly heavily plagiarized many authors, as Tiffany Gabbay points out in her article that Michelle may have plagiarized those words from other authors, first.
@Ditto: the speech writer McIver has stated for the record that Ms Trump knew about the speech done in 2008 by FLOTUS and wanted one like it
It was just a typical Trump screwup
Cruz is on CSPAN now, you gotta see it!
The speechwriter (who is, surprisingly, a registered Democrat) has admitted that the mistake was hers alone and NOT Milania’s. Milana had said she wanted a speech like Michele gave. The speechwriter wrote down some notes for that. Miliana then orated the preliminary draft speech she had penned to the speech writer. I give kudos to the speechwriter for admitting to her error and offering her resignation, and kudos are also given to the Trump campaign for forgiving and refusing to accept the resignation.
The left also went after Trump Jr. claiming plagiarism in the speech he gave. The only problem is that the person whom they claimed he was plagiarizing is the self-same person who wrote Trump Jr’s speech.
What is clear is that the Yellow Press is desperate to hit Trump from every turn, and that they are willing to make mountains out of molehills if necessary.
@Ditto: I just want someone to tell me the truth. If someone screws up just admit it, don’t lie about it. The left is really grasping at straws on this one. Such a petty issue.
@Ditto: Now if Donald would just start giving speeches “like Barrack made” his chances would greatly improve..
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Good for you Melania.!
Don’t act so naive. Melania and Michelle’s speeches are not that similar aside from the two questioned phrases.
Critics Hurl Plagiarism Charges At Donald Trump Jr. After RNC Speech
So? Does it bother you that Obozo has no degree? Have you ever seen any proof that he ever attended classes at any university? Any? I do think he was seen a few times as Barry Soetoro, an Indonesian at Occidental, but he was never seen in any classroom at any other university. Does that matter? Do you care if Mrs Trump went to a University? I don’t. Why would anyone? Last time I looked she wasn’t running for office.
@Ditto: You’re kidding.
BTW I told RT I’d endorse Trump right after Cruz endorsed him—NO WORRIES
Heidi had to be escorted out. amidst Trump hecklers.
@Greg: So now we know that Moochelle had plagarized her speech. I don’t even agree with that. All those statements made were generic, you have to promise to do your duty to God and your country and obey the scout laws (before the gays destroyed the scouts). That’s what Mooochelle and Melania said and neither of them gave credit to the boy scouts for the use of their words.
Not really very similar. Mooochelle’s does look similar to what that guy in Antarctica said.
Note: Is that enough o’s in Mooochelle? I don’t want to be accused of plagarism.
Tsk tsk RedTeam I can tell you are upset
No I do not think that a degree from a university is necessary to be FLOTUS AND I don’t don’t really fault Ms Trump for reading a plagiarized speech
I do think that she should be able to at least keep the campaign staff from saying that she has a degree when she doesn’t
As for Obama not having degrees think what you want about that I am sure many Akex Jones fans will agree with you that is something you will have to discuss with them not me
Trumpist Nan? is that like a Rainbowist Richard?
You mean like his ‘hopey changey’ speech? Which speech did he make that he has lived up to? You rather have someone make a good speech, or accomplish something? and by ‘accomplish something’ I don’t mean have the highest unemployment in 40 years, the slowest growth in the economy in 40 years, the worst economy in 100 years. That kind of accomplishments we can do without. But, hey, it sounded good in the speech. We just didn’t know he planned to set race relations back to pre-civil war status. Yep, let’s have more of that Hopey Changey stuff.
Love those huge protests taking place at the convention. Heard one of them had almost 24 protestors, seems they had more policemen surrounding them than were in the protest. I think that parking lot full of 450,000 biker supporters has kinda intimidated a few.
At one time I was an admirer of Ted Cruz, but it turns out he is just another POS that is only in it for his personal power trip. If he was really ‘anti-establisment’ he would be overly happy to support an outsider. He can now pretend that he should be that outsider, but I think he has a screw loose. Being a foreigner doesn’t make the situation any better.
I’m actually happy that a power tripper doesn’t want to endorse him.
@John: upset? about what?
There is NO way you can PROVE that she does not have a degree. Let’s see you documented statement from that university that certifies that she does not have a degree from that university. And tell us again why it matters” No one has gotten upset with Obozo because he lied about attending college. It has now been verified that he did play Frisbee on the grounds of the student union one time. Unfortunately the grounds were not inside of a classroom. Upset? Chuckle.