GOP Speeches? Not So Original. Tea Party Speeches? GOP Carbon Copies. Big Surprise!

The real kicker in this HuffPost investigative piece (and I know you'll be shocked) is that the "independent" Tea Party members, the ones who insist they're not rubber stamps for the GOP, are actually caught red-handed:

An extensive review of GOP campaign literature, floor speeches and public statements reveals that Republican candidates and officeholders routinely use GOP talking points verbatim in their speeches and campaign literature, while passing off the language as their own personal views.

Using the plagiarism detection software program iThenticate as well as Google and the Library of Congress, HuffPost found that more than 30 members of the House and Senate eschew originality when it comes to making their case.

A search for Democratic violations turned up far fewer instances. But if Democrats show less of a penchant for blatant copying, it may reflect their traditional unwillingness to follow the party line more than any higher ethical standards. Will Rogers's oft-quoted declaration -- "I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat" -- has worn well over time.

[...] Republican use of identical language isn't limited to press releases or websites; they often use verbatim the words of other members on the House floor.

"As the American people struggle to make ends meet, too many also live with the challenge of affording basic health care for themselves and for their families," Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) announced on the House floor on July 28, 2009. The empathetic statement matches GOP talking points verbatim.

On the same day Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) drew another line from the same set of talking points, telling his fellow lawmakers on the House floor that "the administration's plan for a government takeover of health care will raise taxes, ration care, extend wait times, and let a government commission make decisions that should be made by families and their doctors."

Even when the talking points were not made public, it's not hard to tell when lawmakers were reading from a script. First Tom Price (R-Ga.) and then Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), a few days later, decried "a government takeover of health care that will lead to fewer jobs, higher taxes, and less health coverage."

Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) told members on the House floor that "the truth behind the cap-and-tax plan is that it will lead to more taxes, fewer jobs, and more government intrusion in our lives." That's mirrors GOP.gov.

The most flagrant violations come from an unlikely corner: A dozen members of the House Tea Party Caucus have made word-for-word use of GOP talking points, presenting them as statements of their own. These self-styled renegade Republicans are, quite literally, reading from a script written in Washington. The source of that script is usually GOP.gov, the website of Republicans in Congress.

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