During tonite's debate, Hillary was asked by one of the questioners about the plagiarism charges from her campaign and she went after Obama on it. Obama responded, and Hillary followed with "If your candidacy is going to be about words then they should be your own words," she said. "...Lifting whole passages from someone else's speeches is not change you can believe in, it's change you can Xerox."
Her delivery, particularly on that last soundbite line, was awkward, giving me the sense it was scripted, and perhaps her heart wasn't in it. It went over like a lead balloon and she was roundly booed for her efforts. Maybe now she'll cut the plagiarism crap out.
And if that isn't convincing enough to make her stop, maybe this will be...
I'm not even showing that clip to criticize Hillary—this was also something that John Edwards had used earlier this campaign. It just shows that recycling themes and platitudes is not plagiarism, it's pretty common, and in many cases almost unavoidable. This whole affair was stupid, and I think backfired on her.
UPDATE: Slight changes above to include the actual quotes from Hillary, now that they are available, and to clarify why I posted the video. Based on my first two comments, I also wanted to add the following to make my overall impression clear:
I think Hillary came across very well and had a good debate. It's her natural habitat in many ways, and it really levels the playing field with Obama for her in terms of oratory. I think she played it clean, and for the most part graciously and above the belt. A few of her standard, semi-BS staples made it in, but I was seriously wondering whether she would follow the advice she had been recieving from the Penn faction of her camp (and Bill?) to go aggressively and negatively after Obama, and I think she rightly realized it hasn't been working for her and decided to try and remain above that.
Kudos to her. I think it's a better strategy for her, better for her legacy if (when?) she loses, and definitely better for the party going forward. It was a bit surprising for me, and improved my opinion of her, which had been plummeting. She also stated that the race "will not be decided by the superdelegates" which possibly sent certain advisors into conniptions, but it is the right thing for her to say. We'll see if she means it.
They both dodged answering the last question, but Hillary was MUCH more effective, and her strongest moment ended up being the last word. Even if it was Bill's...
I think, unlike the Republicans, when these two are together on stage, they raise the level of the debate and do as much emphasizing of similarities as contrasts. This is a good thing.
I think Hillary might have had a few more memorable moments (good and bad) and "won" the debate if you were scoring as an isolated event, but I think it did nothing to slow Obama down, and a hold for him is a win. He's ahead, and has the wind and clock on his side.
My lasting impression was closer to what I thought a month ago, when I felt good about both options, and happy to support whoever won the nomination. So in that sense, Hillary won with me—but that can change in a heartbeat if she doesn't put a leash on her surrogates.
[UPDATE 2:] Here is the Yahoo headline in the top stories section of my homepage. One of only five headlines, by the way...
Clinton: Obama 'change you can Xerox'.
It would appear that played better with the media that wants a brawl than the electorate that wants reconciliation. This is a shame, because it leaves the same mis-impression of the debate that my original post did. I think most people who watched would actually be talking more about Hillary's closing (in a positive way) than this (IMO) misstep.
And if they are going to further that meme, perhaps they would give equal time to the identical behavior Hillary exhibited during the same debate she called Obama a Xerox machine. Obviously the media isn't going to help Obama and that front, and want him to go there himself. I hope he resists.
The fucking media sucks.