Clinton v. Obama: Change You Can Xerox

I watched the debate last night as did Josh Marshall:

one of my big questions about this debate was Hillary Clinton’s lack of aggressiveness toward Barack Obama. I think it spoke very well of her on a number of levels — personally, as a potential leader, etc. She made her case on her merits and policies. But there is no mistaking the fact that by every metric and every visible trendline Barack Obama is in the process of winning the nomination. At least conventional political logic would dictate that she had no choice but to go after him just as she has been doing on the campaign trail. But she didn’t.

While Josh is right, there were at least a couple of feisty parts of the debate. Clinton and Obama did go at it over the health care reform issue, which was fine as this is an important policy difference.

But when John King asked about that faux plagiarism issue and Obama nailed it, Clinton said:

Well, I think that if your candidacy is going to be about words, then they should be your own words. That’s I think a very simple proposition. And you know, lifting whole passages from someone else’s speeches is not change you can believe in – it’s change you can Xerox

Clever, I guess and she is getting a lot of credit for a strong closing line but Josh Marshall observes:

I mentioned at the end of my debate blog that the pivot of Hillary’s powerful concluding remarks came from Bill Clinton’s 92 campaign. Clinton had various permutations to it back then. But TPM Reader CG found one example in this November 1992 article by Anna Quindlen …Clinton, 92: “The hits that I took in this election are nothing compared to the hits the people of this state and this country have been taking for a long time.” Hillary Clinton, tonight: “You know, the hits I’ve taken in life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country.” Just to be 100% clear, there’s nothing in the least wrong with this. And it’s a great line. But I think it shows the silliness of the ‘plagiarism’ charges based on a few borrowed lines. Politicians borrow good lines and catch-phrases. Happens all the time. There’s nothing wrong with it.

I can hear Rush Limbaugh now – Hillary is a hypocrite. She really needs to have her campaign drop this plagiarism nonsense as it really is petty.