10 Plagiarists in Politics Who Got Caught

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They rule the roost in the political arena and yet don’t hesitate to steal from predecessors or competitors. Plagiarism in politics is a thread-bare matter, but the issue remains a click bait for millions because, when reading about another case of political plagiarism and its debunking, people experience involvement in this disclosure. That’s the very moment when policy-makers don’t seem superior and ideal: their failures give inhabitants a sigh of relief.

Only the lazy didn’t blame Melania Trump for plagiarism from Michelle Obama, and yet the same lazy forgets and forgives that screw-up today. But not by Melania alone: it seems political writers heard nothing about authorship, copyright infringement, and plagiarism checkers that could help to prevent duplications and avoid further accusations.

1. Michelle Obama

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That very speech, plagiarised by Melania, was a part-plagiarized itself. Some say Michelle lifted lines from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.

Alinsky:

The standards of judgment must be rooted in the whys and wherefores of life as it is lived, the world as it is, not our wished-for fantasy of the world as it should be.”

Obama:

And Barack stood up that day, and he spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about ‘the world as it is‘ and ‘the world as it should be.’”

2. Barack Obama

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In 2008, Hillary Clinton accused Obama of plagiarizing Democratic Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. In his turn, Patrick defended Obama though the latter admitted he should have given credits to his friend. As told by Washington Post, Obama’s speech included quotes from John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. Deval Patrick used the same quotes in the same order.

Patrick:

 “I am not asking anybody to take a chance on me. I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’ – just words. Just words. ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself’ – just words. ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country’ – just words. ‘I have a dream’ – just words.”

Obama:

“I am not asking anyone to take a chance on me. I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations.”

 “Don’t tell me words don’t matter! ‘I have a dream.’ Just words. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ Just words. ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ Just words, just speeches.”

3. Vladimir Putin

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Russian President is known for plagiarizing 16 out of 20 pages of his economics dissertation as a student during the mid-1990s. He used the text from two University of Pittsburgh academics. And yet, Putin’s spokesmen dismissed the claims, calling them “slanderous.”

Besides, Internet users often compare Vladimir Putin’s speeches with Hitler’s. Often, his narratives communicate the same message and tone: both men justified invasions, expressed a desire to resolve situations peacefully, and did what they deemed right, regardless of opposition.

Hitler:

“When statesmen in the West declare that this affects their interests, I can only regret such a declaration. It cannot for a moment make me hesitate to fulfill my duty… I have repeatedly offered friendship and, if necessary, the closest co-operation with Britain, but this cannot be offered from one side only. It must find a response on the other side.”

Putin:

 “Some Western politicians are already threatening us with not just sanctions but also the prospect of increasingly serious problems on the domestic front. At the same time, we will never seek confrontation with our partners, whether in the East or the West, but on the contrary, will do everything we can to build civilized and good-neighborly relations as one is supposed to in the modern world.”

4. Hillary Clinton

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Apropos of Hillary accusing Barack Obama of plagiarism, she has skeletons in the closet herself. Gone are the days when she stole jokes from former President Ronald Reagan and talking points – from Bernie Sanders, but manuscripts don’t burn.

Reagan:

“America is great because she is good.”

Clinton:

“America is great — because America is good.”

Sanders:

“This country belongs to all of us, not just the billionaire class. That’s what this campaign is all about.”

Clinton:

 “This country belongs to all of us, not just those at the top.”

5. Ben Carson

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In 2015, Buzzfeed wrote about Ben Carson lifting passages for his book America the Beautiful from SocialismSucks.net. He’s also known for plagiarizing from historians W. Cleon Skousen and Bill Federer, though cited the latter in the acknowledgments.

Original:

“Sure, there are several different brands of socialism – at least as many types as there are would-be people-planners who wish to impose their plans to control the moral and economic lives of other people. But are you willing to surrender your precious liberties to a socialist state which promises ‘security’ for everyone or government-enforced equality? Isn’t this what Hitler and other socialists promised the German people in his Nazi (national socialist) platform – a country in which government guarantees security and ‘equality’ in exchange for giving up individual freedom? Will Americans continue to fall for the same scam?”

Carson:

“Sure, there are several different brands of socialism – at least as many types as there are would-be people-planners who wish to impose their plans to control the moral and economic lives of other people. But are you willing to surrender your precious liberties to a socialist state which promises ‘security’ for everyone and government-enforced equality? Isn’t this what Hitler and other socialists promised the German people in his Nazi (national socialist) platform – a country in which government guarantees security and ‘equality’ in exchange for giving up individual freedom? Will Americans fall for the same scam?”

6. Joe Biden

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Senator Joseph R. Biden is known for plagiarizing a speech from Neil Kinnock who was a British Labour Party leader back then, in 1987.

Kinnock:

“Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? [Pointing to his wife in the audience:] Why is Glenys the first woman in her family in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because all our predecessors were thick?”

Biden:

“I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university? [Pointing to his wife in the audience:] Why is it that my wife who is sitting out there in the audience is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? Is it because I’m the first Biden in a thousand generations to get a college and a graduate degree that I was smarter than the rest?”

7. Rand Paul

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Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is ingenious with choosing the sources to plagiarize: he takes portions from… movies! In 2013, he used the Wikipedia page of Gattaca to steal ideas for a speech. A year earlier, Paul lifted lines from Stand and Deliver. More than that, he borrowed statements from Associated Press reports and Heritage Foundation studies.

Associated Press:

The ranks of America’s poor swelled to almost 1 in 6 people last year, reaching a new high as long-term unemployment left millions of Americans struggling and out of work.”

Paul:

Under President Obama, the ranks of America’s poor swelled to almost 1 in 6 people last year, reaching a new high as long-term unemployment left millions of Americans struggling and out of work.”

Heritage Foundation:

“This prosecution also reveals the risks of federalizing criminal law. Observers have long warned against allowing the federal government to encroach on the traditional state function of enacting and enforcing general criminal laws.”

Paul:

“This prosecution also reveals the risks of federalizing criminal law. Observers have long warned against allowing the federal government to encroach on the traditional state function of enacting and enforcing general criminal laws.”

8. Annette Schavan

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German Education Minister Annette Schavan was blamed for plagiarizing of too many passages in her 1980 doctoral thesis, which matched word for word with no proper sourcing. She had lost her Ph.D. because of accusations though denied her fault and planned to appeal the case. “At no time while working on my dissertation did I attempt to mislead,” she said.

9. John Walsh

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Senator John Walsh joins Putin and Schavan in plagiarizing his 2007 master’s thesis at the U.S. Army War College. Debunked in 2014, this plagiarism accusation cost him a degree. He copied an entire page from a Harvard paper and each of his six conclusions – from a document from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The New York Times did their best to compare those works and visualize them graphically.

10. Donald Trump

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Donald Trump brings up the rear today. It seems that Mr. President plagiarized his op-ed from Ben Carson: as The Daily Caller reported, “in some cases, full sentences and phrases — word-for-word — are lifted from Carson’s. In others, some words and phrases are changed and added.”

Carson:

MANY Americans do not appreciate the patriotism exhibited by our brothers and sisters in the Territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.”

Trump:

Throughout the history of our nation, the patriotism exhibited by our brothers and sisters in the Territories of American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands has often gone unacknowledged.”

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But Carson has no problem with such reports and says they “don’t bother him at all.”


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