Hardball: Was It Plagiarism Or Not?

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Hillary Clinton adviser, Howard Wolfson, accused Barack Obama of outright plagiarism during a campaign conference call for using words from a speech previously given by his friend, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, during a speech Obama gave without giving him credit. This isn't the first time Obama and Deval have shared the same message. Obama admitted to using the governor's words and Patrick applauded him for using his lines.

Yesterday on Hardball, Chris Matthews talked with Pat Buchanan and Katrina Vanden Heuvel of The Nation about the accusations and the differences between the two were like night and day. Buchanan says that this was clearly plagiarism and that he believes this was a big mistake on Obama's part because Obama spent the day explaining himself, while Katrina claims that this was a stunt by the Clinton campaign and is just a distraction from real issues and bad for the Democratic Party and politics in general.

(Nicole:) Vanden Heuvel is right, this is much ado about nothing and a distraction from substantive issues. Obama had credited Patrick for the words before. Clinton's slide from the presumptive nomination has made the Wisconsin primary a make or break one for her--if she does not win, it will be nearly impossible to overtake Obama's momentum. Nevertheless, the Clinton campaign should be slammed for breaking the cardinal rule of politics: Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill Of Your Own Party. This is the kind of red meat that the media loves to chew on and just gives the GOP something to use against either one of them, should they win the nomination. Really not a smart move.

John Amato: By the way, watching Pat Buchanan say Drudge represents middle America is outrageous--- outrageous, I say! What will be interesting to see is if Hillary does win Wisconsin, then did this actually help her?

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