The controversy seems to have receded as it relates to Barack Obama's use of the words of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick in some of his own speeches. Obama pointed out that he and Patrick are long-time friends and that they frequently share material. For Deval Patrick's part, he says that he and Obama "often share ideas about politics, policy, and language." The Hillary campaign is attempting to milk "Words-gate" for all it might be worth, with Hillary surrogates all over the cable television news channels this afternoon saying that Obama is unfit to be President because he lifted a few lines from a friend.
The issue doesn't appear to be cutting into Obama's lead in Wisconsin, which now may be as high as 13 points. Texas is now too close to call at this point, with at least one polling agency putting Obama within the margin of error there. The Obama-Patrick Speech Affair does raise the issue of appearances to the wider world:
At the end of the day, Obama borrowing lines from Patrick simply doesn't come across very presidential. "Obama, as the Globe detailed in an April 2007 article, has periodically used themes and even direct lines that echo speeches by Patrick, including the one cited yesterday by Clinton's campaign. Obama's campaign manager, David Axelrod, also worked closely with Patrick in his successful effort in 2006 to become the Bay State's first African-American governor. Obama used Patrick language again recently, remarking at a Milwaukee dinner on Saturday night that it was not true that ‘words don't matter.’”
Domenico Montanaro has a good point-this may be a very minor issue, but it does not make Barack Obama look presidential in the least. It makes it appear that both he and his campaign speechwriters can't come up with original material. Yes, writers usually handle speeches for presidents and candidates, but the spoken word is always credited to the speaker. It is an issue of experience or the lack thereof, and it could hurt Obama in the long run.
Labels: Presidential Election