4 times a political speech was incredibly similar to someone else's


ICYMI there's been a lot of talk about political plagiarism today.

It seems quite shocking that someone in the public eye would consider lifting parts of an existing speech - also made in the public eye - in this way. And also shocking that the consequences for doing so at a much lower level (say, in school) are much more severe.

But what might come as yet another shock is that such accusations aren't all that uncommon.

Here are four high-profile instances of accused plagiarism in the world of politics:

1. Melania Trump and Michelle Obama

Melania Trump's well-received speech contained two passages which match nearly word-for-word the speech Michelle Obama delivered in 2008.

She has been criticised most of the day on social media for the alleged copying - something Donald Trump's campaign team has dismissed as "just absurd".

2. Joe Biden and Neil Kinnock

In 1987, the then-Democratic presidential candidate was accused of copying part of a political ad by former leader of the Labour party Neil Kinnock in his speech.

Biden said: "Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university?", then listed possibilities to do with intelligence and capability, before concluding: "It's because they didn't have a platform on which to stand."

Kinnock, a few months earlier, said: "Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university?", then also listed possibilities along the lines of intelligence and work ethic, before concluding almost identically: "It was because there was no platform upon which they could stand."

3. Barack Obama and Deval Patrick

In 2008, Barack Obama was accused of plagiarism by Hillary Clinton's campaign after making a speech that had a notably similar theme to a 2006 speech by former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick - the use of the words "just words".

4. Stephen Harper and John Howard

In 2003, the former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper made a speech on the Iraq war that was almost identical to the one made just days earlier by the then-Australian PM John Howard.

Harper's speech writer Owen Lippert had to resign as a result, explaining at the time: "Pressed for time, I was overzealous in copying segments of another world leader's speech."