Donald Trump’s Campaign Fumbles As Plagiarism Plagues Aftermath Of Melania Trump’s Speech

Speeches by the wife and kids are supposed to be the easy part of a convention. If you mess that up, you truly are an amateur.

Melania Trump

I didn’t watch it myself, but the initial reaction that I did see from Melania Trump’s speech at the first night of the Republican National Convention was quite positive. Commentary on both sides of the aisle focused on the way she spoke about her own upbringing in Slovenia and her gratitude to the United States for providing a second home and a place to achieve unexpected international success as a fashion model, wife, and mother. It was, in other words, your standard ‘spouse of a candidate’ speech, and to be honest it’s usually pretty hard to mess those up. The audience is going to love seeing some insight into the human side of a candidate they’ve known only from the campaign trail, the press is eager to hear from someone close to the candidate who hasn’t taken an assertive role on the campaign trail until now, and in general even the opposition is going to treat a “civilian” like a spouse somewhat better than the candidate themselves. That’s one reason why it’s somewhat remarkable that the Trump campaign was somehow able to mess up what should have been the easiest part of the convention:

The Donald Trump campaign on Tuesday denied allegations that Melania Trump plagiarized a Michelle Obama speech on the first night of the Republican National Convention, calling the accusation “just really absurd.”

“To think that she would do something like that knowing how scrutinized her speech was going to be last night is just really absurd,” Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day.”

At least one passage in Trump’s speech Monday night plagiarized from Obama’s address to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

Side-by-side comparisons of the transcripts show the text in Trump’s address following, nearly to the word, the would-be future first lady’s own from the first night of the Democratic convention in Denver nearly eight years ago.

But Manafort said the words Melania used were not “cribbed” but are common words.

“There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech. These were common words and values. She cares about her family,” Manafort said. “To think that she’d be cribbing Michelle Obama’s words is crazy.”

Manafort said attacks on Trump’s speech are due to Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, being “threatened” by Trump.

“This is once again an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, she seeks out to demean her and take her down. It’s not going to work,” he said.

The controversy quickly overshadowed the speech, which was to have been her introduction to voters. It focused on her immigration to the US and her love for her husband.

A Republican operative familiar with how the campaign was handling the speeches said a number of senior aides had a role, edited Melania’s speech, suggested changes and provided guidance. Manafort told CNN’s Phil Mattingly earlier on Tuesday that he wasn’t involved in drafting the speech and served solely in a sign-off role.

The Trump campaign released a statement on the speech after the similarities were uncovered, but the statement did not mention the plagiarism charge.
“In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking. Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success,” according to Jason Miller, the senior communications adviser.

The New York Times shows the similarities between Michelle Obama’s speech in 2008 and Melania Trump’s speech last night:

Here are the relevant passages.

Ms. Trump, Monday night:

“From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily lives. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son. And we need to pass those lessons onto the many generations to follow. Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

Mrs. Obama, in her 2008 speech:

“Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them. And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them onto the next generation. Because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

Ms. Trump:

“I was born in Slovenia, a small, beautiful and then-Communist country in Central Europe. My sister, Ines, who is an incredible woman and a friend, and I were raised by my wonderful parents. My elegant and hard-working mother, Amalija, introduced me to fashion and beauty. My father, Viktor, instilled in me a passion for business and travel. Their integrity, compassion and intelligence reflects to this day on me and for my love of family and America.

Mrs. Obama, in 2008:

“And I come here as a daughter — raised on the South Side of Chicago by a father who was a blue-collar city worker and a mother who stayed at home with my brother and me. My mother’s love has always been a sustaining force for our family, and one of my greatest joys is seeing her integrity, her compassion and her intelligence reflected in my own daughters.

The similarities between the two speeches are, quite frankly, too apparent to be denied, and someone on the Trump campaign thought they could get away with it notwithstanding the fact that it was the first major public address by a candidate’s spouse who has, until now, stayed largely behind the scenes while her husband takes center stage and his children from previous marriages act as his primary surrogates on the campaign trail. Even worse than the fact of the obvious plagiarism itself, though, has been the manner in which the Trump campaign has responded to the issue so far. Initially, there was a complete denial that any plagiarism had taken place, but in the early hours of this morning that has shifted to the strategy, such as it is, of underplaying the amount of copying that is plainly evident and attempting to shift the blame for who might be responsible for what is a minor but nonetheless embarrassing development. Depending on who you believe, the entire speech was written by Melania Trump, or it was written by her in consultation with a campaign staffer, or it was written by a ‘team of speechwriters’ who worked together after consulting with the candidate’s spouse about what she wanted to say.

Off the top, let’s just say that of all the explanations the least plausible one is that this speech was written entirely by Melania Trump, primarily because it is clear that English is not her primary language and yet the speech reads like it was written by someone whose primary language was English. It’s also hard to believe that the campaign would leave the candidate’s wife go out there on her own and give a speech in prime time without at least some help from a professional speechwriter. Therefore, the most likely explanation is that the source of this plagiarism is whomever on the campaign staff was responsible for assisting Mrs. Trump with writing the speech. What’s remarkable is that the campaign is managing to mess up what ought to be the easiest part of the convention. The candidate’s spouse speech is generally something short, sweet, and tells us something about the human side of the candidate, and since it’s usually given by someone who isn’t used to public speaking and may not have been a common sight on the campaign trail it’s usually going to be well-received. The only way to mess it up is to do something like this that makes the candidate, and theis spouse, look foolish and then spend the next day trying to deny that anything serious has occurred .This is hardly the biggest news of the 2016 campaign, of course, but it does demonstrate the extent to which the Trump campaign is still very much an amateur hour operation, and it makes one wonder what else they can mess up going forward.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Doug, you missed Theory # 4: The plagiarism was an act of sabotage committed by a mole working on behalf of Ryan/Romney/Rove.

  2. Mark Ivey says:

    Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort says this is Hillary Clinton’s fault.

    You can’t make this s**t up.. :))

  3. Moosebreath says:

    @Mark Ivey:

    “Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort says this is Hillary Clinton’s fault.”

    The “party of personal responsibility” in action.

  4. Rafer Janders says:

    This is hardly the biggest news of the 2016 campaign, of course,

    To that point, I agree, but would also point out that, as a commenter named toschek at Balloon Juice wrote:

    If Michelle had pulled this shit in 2008, the media — left and right — would have DESTROYED her (and Barack). The right especially would have had a field day, it would have been all about his credibility, his judgement and whether or not he had encouraged her to do it. If Michelle had done this in 2008, we’d probably be in the middle of McCain’s 2nd term knee deep in an Iranian quagmire. Meanwhile Trump lies, cheats and steals more often than most people breathe and other than a couple of days of howling from MSNBC and the left-leaning blogs I don’t expect ANY other media outlets to do anything more than compare this to Joe Biden cribbing Neil Kinnock (because both sides do it, dontchaknow) and giving Trump’s campaign yet another pass because Zsa Zsa obviously meant no harm.

  5. PogueMahone says:

    Related:

    “He will never, ever give up. And most importantly, he will never, ever let you down.” – His third wife.

  6. David in KC says:

    Too bad there isn’t an easy way to input a speech or something into a program to see if there are sections that would constitute plagiarism. Would be nice if you could google for ways to detect plagiarism and get some helpful tools for that…

  7. Mikey says:

    attempting to shift the blame for who might be responsible

    So the usual, then? That’s what Trump campaign does EVERY TIME they screw up.

  8. Stormy Dragon says:

    Can you actually plagiarize a cliché? Because if attributing success to hard work and keeping your word is plagiarism, I think Michelle and Melania both owe an apology to several thousand college graduation speakers.

  9. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    It wasn’t just the cliches that got lifted from M.O.’s speech.

  10. Hal_10000 says:

    I posted this in the other thread; worth repeating here: this is the perfect Trump scandal. It’s stupid. It’s meaningless. And it distracts from the much more alarming speeches, like Robertson and Giuliani. So, ultimately, Trump benefits.

    Last night, several GOP speakers spewed anti-immigration invective, alarmism about crime and violence, doom-saying about the world and flirted with outright racism. And THIS is what we’re talking about?

  11. CSK says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Apparently. I just Googled “Melania Trump,” “speech,” and “plagiarize” and got 191,000 hits.

  12. Scott says:

    I listened lightly to a couple of the speeches while driving but had to turn the radio off. All the speeches were of a world that is unknown to me. Scary, dystopic. Even though crime is lower than ever. Even though ISIS is being rolled back is pretty well contained to conducting random terrorist operations. Cries to unite the country even though every word is divisive. Makes me ill.

  13. bookdragon says:

    @CSK: Twitter is having a field day with it.

    I think it has legs at least in part because it plays into every meme about whites stealing ideas/music/etc from blacks and calling them their own (particularly apt in near the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame).

    A theme retweeted dozens of times now is ‘Becky with the Stolen Speech’.

  14. Jen says:

    This silly scandal drowns out all of the terrifying and apocalyptic drivel that was presented yesterday. This is the party of “it’s morning in America” – Reagan? Fear is a powerful motivator, I get that. But this was all so appalling.

  15. C. Clavin says:

    Trump himself on Biden’s alleged plagiarism in college:

    “You know, he’s also been involved in pretty big controversy like plagiarism in college and various other things. That’s a pretty big statement. So perhaps you change over a period of time. But when you plagiarize, that’s a very bad statement.”

  16. Tillman says:

    Unhinged rants at specks of light only the orator can see, hoarse fearmongering — of course the media zones in on plagiarism. Plagiarism is a cardinal sin for reporters, but the rest? Gotta maintain the objectivity.

  17. Franklin says:

    I almost agree with Stormy Dragon. That stuff is so cliché that it would be frankly surprising not to find a matching sentence in one of the millions of speeches given over the years. Especially if it was just that second passage alone.

    BUT, the fact that this is another would-be first lady, reading a whole paragraph (the first passage) that is basically the same … it’s just too striking to be coincidental.

  18. C. Clavin says:

    I’m with Hal on this.
    That thing last night was a fact free, policy free train wreck of hate and fear mongering.
    Who gives a flying rats ass if a couple cliches got copied, or if they didn’t?
    Frankly, I think Manafort blaming Clinton for the plagiarism is priceless. When did Republicans become such pu$$ies?

  19. steve s says:

    Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort says this is Hillary Clinton’s fault.

    You can’t make this s**t up.. :))

    Not only can he make it up, he can successfully sell it to at least 4-5 people who hang out here.

  20. Tillman says:

    The real issue isn’t the plagiarism, it’s the rickrolling. Shouldn’t abuse the power of the floor like that.

  21. stonetools says:

    This case is another example of a major flaw of Republicans-the refusal to admit they are wrong or to apologize. When liberals do something wrong, they are hounded by the media and other liberals until they admit they are wrong and apologize (see Ginsburg, Ruth for the latest example).
    But Republicans-and Trump in particular don’t do that. They just DGAF about what the media says. They continue to spout the same things and engage in the same misconduct no matter how often they are condemned in the media.
    So of course Trump isn’t going to admit plagiarism or apologize. He’ll just attack the librul media for getting all excited over a few sentences. This bodes ill for a Trump Presidency. We already know what happens when a Republican President plunges the country into a stupid war, while blithely ignoring all the signals that the Administration is wrong. And Trump is here exactly like GWB-only dumber and more stubborn.
    It’s yet another reason why a rational, patriotic American has no other option but to vote against Trump in November.

  22. al-Alameda says:

    @PogueMahone:

    Related:
    “He will never, ever give up. And most importantly, he will never, ever let you down.” – His third wife.

    I’m going to nominate this for a Nobel Prize

  23. Neil Hudelson says:

    @CSK:

    I’m not sure it wasn’t sabotage. Either Melania’s professional political speechwriter(s) was so stupid as to think that directly cribbing from the immediately-prior candidate’s wife’s speech would not get caught by the internets, or…

    Someone on Melania’s speechwriter’s team wanted to embarrass her.

    And I just have a hard time believing that someone at this level of political speechwriting would think they could do this and not get caught.

    But then again, one would have to assume that someone Trump’s team would WANT to take cheap shots at an immigrant woman on national television. Surely there aren’t anti-immigrant misogynists on Trump’s team?

  24. Guarneri says:

    How are things going at day care today?

  25. CSK says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Indeed. But do we know who Trump’s speechwriters are? They could be 20-year-old interns, for all we know. Maybe they thought no one would recognize the plagiarized elements. Yes, college kids can be that dumb; I’ve taught enough of them.

    Trump always brags that he “hires the best people,” but his campaign is clearly being run by incompetents.

  26. al-Alameda says:

    @Guarneri:

    How are things going at day care today?

    Staff tells me not well, some kid named “Guarneri” hasn’t stopped crying since his parents dropped him off 4 hours ago.

  27. Pch101 says:

    The party of personal responsibility strikes again.

  28. Raoul says:

    So the Republican Party steals from the black man (woman) again.

  29. wr says:

    @Hal_10000: “I posted this in the other thread; worth repeating here: this is the perfect Trump scandal. It’s stupid. It’s meaningless. And it distracts from the much more alarming speeches, like Robertson and Giuliani. So, ultimately, Trump benefits.”

    I understand that point of view, but I think it’s missing the most important point. This convention is intended to re-introduce candidate Trump to the general election voters. The news should be filled with discussions of the apocalyptic visions of his supporters, and then people would be talking about how Trump is presenting himself — surely some will be turned off, but others will like it.

    Instead, all the news is about how incompetent the Trump campaign is. And they’re just making it worse. By putting out contradictory stories about how the speech was written, by blaming it all on Hillary, by spinning and spinning, they are keeping a ten-minute story alive for the entire day’s news cycle.

    (Meanwhile Melania Trump, a woman for whom I’d rarely find a lot of sympathy, is being made a national laughingstock simply because she trusted the speechwriters her husband hired for her.)

    What’s gone here is the entire messaging of one-fourth of the convention. Now you may say that this is actually good for Trump, since that messaging was so horrible. But the fact is, that’s the messaging the candidate wanted out there, and it’s lost forever.

    This is an entirely self-created disaster. And it’s got to be a big blow to a campaign premised on the idea that this candidate is the calm, competent businessman who knows how to get things done.

  30. Gustopher says:

    Amateur hour. Complete amateur hour.

    They could have caught this ahead of time, and even failing that, they could have responded in a way to make it not a clusterfvck.

    If they kept quiet rather than lashing out, and then had Melania explain that English was not her first language, so she got help, and she also watched some of the previous candidate wife speeches, and those passages spoke to her and were beautiful… The Trump campaign could have turned this from a ridiculous scandal to a bit of outreach — Melania Trump is the Uniter, who can recognize the value in everyone, even the Obamas.

    Bonus points if Melania just embraces the plagiarism and adds a few famous quotes to her explanation and laughs at herself in the process.

    But no, this will all be someone else’s fault and Trump will be angry and lashing out.

  31. C. Clavin says:

    Now they are saying Melania lied about graduating from college, as well.
    I see a 4th Mrs. Trump before November 8th.

  32. Hal_10000 says:

    @wr:

    Those are good points. But I don’t think Melania’s speech will move one vote. Rudy’s speech, by contrast, dispelled any illusion that I would even consider the merest possibility of voting for this deranged narcissist.

  33. Andre Kenji says:

    If you’re too inept to run a presidential campaign, you’re too inept to run a country. That’s why Speechgate matters.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/melania-trump-plagiarism-speech-implications-2016-7

  34. Scott says:

    @wr:
    @Gustopher:

    The point about incompetence is a good one. I think it is a mistake for the Clinton campaign to go on about how dangerous Trump is. I think his constituency will see that as a strength. I think it is better to hit his business failures which he touts as successes. A bad convention just reinforces the theme that he is incompetent.

  35. Kylopod says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Most plagiarism controversies, whether from politicians or famous writers (Doris Kearns Goodwin, Alex Haley) have involved fairly banal, unremarkable prose. The reason is probably that a lot of is accidental: the people got their own personal notes mixed up with direct quotes, or they did it subconsciously, or any number of other reasons. The fact that the prose is ordinary and unmemorable makes this kind of thing even likelier.

  36. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Franklin:

    I guess I have a hard time believing it’s not coincidence, because if you were going to plagiarize a speech, why would you plagiarize those paragraphs? It’s like robbing a bank so you can steal the pens chained to the tables.

  37. wr says:

    @Hal_10000: I’m glad to hear about your reaction to Giuliani’s speech. For me, the low point was the mother of the guy who died at Benghazi. I’ve finished marathons without needing a shower so badly.

    But if I may do a Melania and steal a thought from someone else — who, I can’t remember, someone I read this morning — can you imagine that there is one Obama voter who would have been convinced to vote for Trump by the antics last night? If not, it was a complete waste of time and money for the campaign.

    I suspect the major result of the DNC will be to remind soft Hillary voters uncomfortable about the email thing why they think she’ll be a good president. If the RNC doesn’t shape up fast, its major result will be to make people who are on the fence about Trump decide they can’t take a chance on him.

  38. bookdragon says:

    @Raoul: As I said in a different thread, this is why this particular idiocy in a night of idiocy and incompetence is what’s trending.

    A privileged white woman steals part of a well-known black woman’s speech and calls it her own. (Yeah, sure, someone else wrote this for her, but she claimed to Matt Laurer that she wrote it herself with only a little help from writers).

    "Our routines are 100% original" #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes pic.twitter.com/Da5jjEgppb— Ian Warren (@ijwarren) July 19, 2016

  39. JKB says:

    Yes, the phrasing was “extremely careless”. However, there is no evidence of intent and no “reasonable prosecutor” would prosecute.

  40. Pch101 says:

    @wr:

    If the RNC doesn’t shape up fast, its major result will be to make people who are on the fence about Trump decide they can’t take a chance on him.

    Much of the country isn’t politically charged or watching politics as a spectator sport. They aren’t going to care much about the convention, either way.

    For Clinton to clinch her victory, she is going to have to remind women and minorities of the threat that Trump poses to them, and then make damned sure that they show up to vote. (We can pretty much assume that a majority of white males, particularly those who are not college-educated, are going to vote for Trump.)

    This election will be all about the ground game. Fortunately, Clinton and the Democratic Party seem to know this; the party used to be pretty hamfisted and inept at connecting with voters but it seems to have turned a corner.

  41. Pete S says:

    @JKB: Agreed, and nobody with a room temperature IQ is advising prosecution for Ms Trump. Even if there was intent.

    I would even go so far to accept that there was no intent here. But we are not just looking at similar thoughts, instead the exact same words spoken in the same order. So the obvious conclusion is that either Ms Trump or her speechwriters found Ms Obama so inspiring that 8 years later they are still using her words and believe them to be their own.

    So the DNC needs to just thank Ms Trump for her moving tribute to the Obamas, and start pointing out the really odious speeches which took up the rest of the day.

  42. Moosebreath says:

    @wr:

    “Instead, all the news is about how incompetent the Trump campaign is.”

    And this is especially damaging to Trump, whose whole public personna is premised on how he can do things better than the Washington establishment. Seeing him fall on his face like this is especially damaging.

    Or, what @Scott: said.

  43. Pch101 says:

    @Moosebreath:

    I doubt that voters who aren’t already committed are going to presume that plagiarism = incompetence. And as a committed anti-Trump voter myself, I have to say that I agree with them; this is a tempest in a teapot at most.

    This is akin to the email server non-issue. The only people who are going to care passionately about it are those who are highly motivated and predisposed to find problems with the candidate.

  44. jukeboxgrad says:

    Franklin:

    That stuff is so cliché that it would be frankly surprising not to find a matching sentence in one of the millions of speeches given over the years.

    Then prepare to be surprised. If you actually try to find sentences that match exactly, I think the number of results you’ll find is pretty close to zero. Notice that Michelle and Melania both said precisely this:

    that your word is your bond and you do what you say

    Google lets you do a search like this:

    “that your word is your bond and you do what you say” -michelle -obama -melania -trump

    The minus sign means that pages containing those words are removed from the search results. Look at the search results, and essentially all you find is one example of someone who apparently was plagiarizing Michelle.

    Also notice that Michelle and Melania both said precisely this:

    your dreams and your willingness to work for them

    Try this google search:

    “your dreams and your willingness to work for them” -michelle -obama -melania -trump

  45. jukeboxgrad says:

    (In two parts because otherwise there will be too many links in one comment.)

    Look at the search results, and essentially all you find in this case are two instances of someone apparently plagiarizing Michelle (link, link).

    Also notice that Michelle and Melania both said precisely this:

    that you work hard for what you want in life

    Try this google search:

    “that you work hard for what you want in life” -michelle -obama -melania -trump

    Look at the search results, and essentially all you find is one example of someone who apparently was plagiarizing Michelle.

    So aside from Melania and Michelle, I’m able to find just four other instances (in aggregate) of other people using these exact phrases. And it’s kind of fascinating that two of those four are people in the real estate business, like Trump. What is it about real estate and plagiarism?

    It’s in the nature of language, and especially the English language, that there are zillions of different ways of expressing the same idea. That’s why a seemingly commonplace sequence of only about 10 words can turn out to be surprisingly original, if you look only at matches that are exact.

    When the sequence of words are an exact match, and that exact sequence is also not in common usage, then a conclusion of plagiarism is inescapable.

    Stormy Dragon:

    I have a hard time believing it’s not coincidence

    If these exact sequences I cited are likely to appear by coincidence, then the total universe of those coincidences should be much greater than the handful of examples I can find. We would find many examples in many contexts. Instead, we find almost no examples that are not a potential First Lady speaking on the opening night of the convention.

    By the way, using a date range in a google search doesn’t work that well, but I can find zero confirmed examples of anyone using these exact phrases prior to 8/25/08, which is when Michelle used them. Can you find any such example? If you could, then your “coincidence” reasoning would seem a little more plausible.

    Pete S:

    we are not just looking at similar thoughts, instead the exact same words spoken in the same order.

    This is the key point. And for the ‘writer’ who did this, it’s the height of laziness. Many people are pointing out the irony that she was talking about “willingness to work.”

  46. Rafer Janders says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I guess I have a hard time believing it’s not coincidence, because if you were going to plagiarize a speech, why would you plagiarize those paragraphs?

    Because YOU WERE LAZY AND STUPID, that’s why. Jesus, what is so hard to understand about that? Lazy and stupid people do lazy and stupid things.

  47. humanoid.panda says:

    @wr:

    What’s gone here is the entire messaging of one-fourth of the convention. Now you may say that this is actually good for Trump, since that messaging was so horrible. But the fact is, that’s the messaging the candidate wanted out there, and it’s lost forever.

    This, so much this. There is a lot of Dilbert-inspired punditry about how this is all a genius trick by Trump forcing us to ignore the convention and focus on Melania and her soft words. To this, the only answer is: “in Trump knows that everything going on around him is terrible, why not simply change it?”

  48. humanoid.panda says:

    “Trump is a genius because he cleverly stuck his foot in a bucket to make you ignore the fact his head is stuck inside a beehive.”

  49. wr says:

    @Rafer Janders: “Because YOU WERE LAZY AND STUPID, that’s why. Jesus, what is so hard to understand about that?”

    I think it’s because the stakes are so high and the laziness and stupidity are so extreme — we put ourselves in the situation and can’t imagine even considering doing this.

    One thing I’ve noticed in the responses — those of us who have taught college and grad school students all believe someone is stupid and lazy enough to do this. Because we’ve all had students who did the same thing — with about the same odds of getting caught. And we’ve all gone through the same thought process — “how could this person turn out to be so lazy and stupid?”

  50. wr says:

    @wr: But on second thought, I realize I missed a beat. It’s not just lazy and stupid — it’s lazy and stupid and arrogant. It’s lazy and stupid combined with a firm belief that you are smarter than everyone else around, so of course you can fool those idiots without even putting any effort in.

    Any resemblance to the Trump campaign is strictly coincidental.

  51. James Pearce says:

    @JKB:

    Yes, the phrasing was “extremely careless”. However, there is no evidence of intent and no “reasonable prosecutor” would prosecute.

    Ha. That’s a pretty good joke, JKB.

    But I suspect it’s been plagiarized too.

  52. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @JKB: Wasted snark aside, this would have been a nothing burger (and may still not even make the final highlight reel cut–there’s four more days of this spectacle, after all) except that Trump’s team decided to turn it into a gourmet s**t sandwich on artisan bread with heirloom tomatoes, arugula, and tarragon mayonnaise.

  53. Mikey says:

    @wr: I think it’s as simple as “we did it because we could.” This isn’t going to hurt Trump’s campaign with his supporters at all. The ‘net is already infested with lame excuses and weak justifications for something that literally killed a past Presidential campaign. They will surely get away with it within the GOP.

    Of course, this time it was the candidate’s spouse and not the candidate himself, so I wouldn’t expect the same result Biden got. But it’s still a significant breach and it’s still being excused by a bunch of people who I think would continue supporting Trump even if he clubbed a baby seal to death on the convention stage.

  54. stonetools says:

    I hope and wish that the anti Trump demonstrators hold no further protests outside the arena that might distract attention from what’s happening inside. ( “Never distract an enemy while he is in the process of destroying himself”, Theodore White).
    I’m looking forward with anticipation to Day 2.How much worse can this dumpster fire get?
    I almost feel sorry for Melania Trump, who has been blindsided by her husband’s inept staff. But then I remember that she willingly participated in the birther smear.

    David Frum:

    David Frum ‏@davidfrum 12h12 hours ago
    Michelle Obama’s speech in Philadelphia is about to get a lot funnier.

    His whole Twitter series on this is hilarious

  55. Rafer Janders says:

    @wr:

    One thing I’ve noticed in the responses — those of us who have taught college and grad school students all believe someone is stupid and lazy enough to do this.

    Don’t teach in school, but I work on Wall Street, and it’s the same here — even though the stakes are enormous, and the risks of getting caught high, people will continue to pull the same sort of nonsense time and again. The human capacity to shoot oneself in the foot is limitless.

  56. JKB says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    Really, there was something else that happened earlier in the day. I wonder what? It surely would have led the MSM today if not for this “extreme carelessness”.

    Or perhaps we should just ask

    “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

  57. Scott says:

    This will be over in a day although great fun is being made right now. Perhaps the Clinton campaign should roll out concern trolling now. Such as: “I feel sorry for Melania. She wasn’t well-served by her husband”.

  58. C. Clavin says:

    Contra Hal, myself, and others…here is a piece that explains exactly why the plagiarism thing IS important…
    http://www.vox.com/2016/7/19/12225272/melania-trump-plagiarism-matters

  59. Pch101 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Was Joe Biden lazy?

    I mean, I dislike Trump and plan on voting against him early and often. But let’s not parrot the empty-headed right wingers who confuse hyperbole with a good argument and who routinely turn molehills into mountain ranges.

    Plagiarism isn’t great, but cribbing some language in a speech isn’t the end of civilization, either.

    And let’s remember that she isn’t the one who is running for president. For the most part, the significant others and minor children of a candidate should be off-limits.

  60. humanoid.panda says:

    @Mikey:

    This isn’t going to hurt Trump’s campaign with his supporters at all.

    But his supporters are money in the bank. A good campaign doesn’t have to think about them much.

  61. C. Clavin says:

    @Pch101:

    Was Joe Biden lazy?

    Considering that it happened in college…yeah…I can buy that.
    Look…it’s clear Trump is not doing what is typically required to become President. His knowledge of the issues is infantile. His preparation for interview questions is non-existent. And he has serious anger management issues he clearly doesn’t want to even admit, much less deal with. He has failed to build a campaign structure or fundraise…he couldn’t even put together a convention schedule on time. He blundered the roll-out of his VP pick.
    If you honestly think this man should be President then you have serious mental health issues.

  62. CSK says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Thanks for the link; that was excellent.

  63. C. Clavin says:

    Let’s all keep in mind that the very slogan at the heart of Trumps campaign is plagiarized.
    “Make America Great Again” was used by Reagan just before he began the 3-plus decade long Republican assault on the middle-class of this country.

  64. Mikey says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    But his supporters are money in the bank. A good campaign doesn’t have to think about them much.

    And indeed…they apparently don’t.

  65. Hal_10000 says:

    Oh, Good Lord. Now they’re claiming the line was stolen from My Little Pony.

    I’m calling it. This campaign is a stunt. They’re trying to lose.

  66. Pch101 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Considering that it happened in college…yeah…I can buy that.

    Joe Biden plagiarized a speech during his 1988 presidential run, one that had been given just a few months earlier.

    There is also a difference between Mr. Biden and Ms. Trump: She isn’t running for office.

    That being said, Trump does have two failures here:

    (a) Trump attacked Biden previously for that aforementioned act of plagiarism, which makes him a hypocrite, and;

    (b) The Trump campaign’s absolute refusal to take responsibility for the gaffe is indicative of the fingerpointing mentality of Trump’s minions and the GOP as a whole. These people never accept the blame for anything, which makes them untrustworthy at best.

    But the actual act of plagiarism isn’t a critical issue here. Trying to turn it into one is petty.

  67. Moosebreath says:

    @Scott:

    “I feel sorry for Melania. She wasn’t well-served by her husband”.

    I think Donald will take that comment about as well as the “small hands” line from Rubio. Any suggestion of his “short comings” will get under his skin.

  68. Dividist says:

    If it’s not a mole, then the Trump campaign continues to set the incompetence bar at new lows.

    Still, I feel for Melania. English is not her native language, it’s an uncomfortable platform, a huge audience and she is clearly relying on campaign speechwriters. And because – Melania.

    It’s not like this is uncommon in campaigns. Obama was cribbing from other Axelrod clients in ’08, as well as failing to attribute the poet that penned one of his most famous lines.

    For another layer of irony, it’s Hillary Clinton that was on the other side of both cut and paste speechwriter’s efforts. She’s probably not going to stoop to going after a spouse, but she could recycle what she was saying about Obama in ’08:

    “Lifting passages from someone else’s speeches is not change you can believe in, it’s change you can Xerox” – Hillary Clinton

  69. Jenos Idanian says:

    So Melania Trump Bidened a few trite phrases from Michelle Obama. Big whoop.

    What’s more entertaining is comparing the two women as far as “working hard.” When Michelle made her speech, she was “holding down” (or had recently given up) a cushy, no-show job at the University of Chicago Hospitals. Melania was a model who had to actually show up and do stuff.

    She also, I understand, speaks five languages, which is four more than Hillary.

    What I can’t determine is if the criticism against her is so fierce because she’s a woman, or because she’s an immigrant (of the legal type). Are you folks sexists or xenophobes?

    Oh, hell, you can be both.

  70. Tyrell says:

    Maybe this person can write some speeches for Don.

  71. Jim R says:

    This is hardly the biggest news of the 2016 campaign, of course,

    No kidding. Those already opposing Trump will laugh and deride this, those supporting Trump will make excuses, but no one’s mind will be changed about anything one way or the other. For my part, I did not listen to her speech and likely never will. Amongst the myriad reasons not to vote for Trump, this does not even register.

  72. Scott says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Nice try but please focus. Melania is not getting much criticism. Nor comparing Melania with Michelle. Most of the criticism is directed at her husband and staff for being incompetent.

  73. CSK says:

    @Hal_10000:

    That the campaign is a stunt is something I’ve thought for a long time. Trump may actually be trying to lose, because he’s in no way equipped for the job and couldn’t handle it. Even he knows that. But I do think it’s more likely that, once having received the nomination, he would bail, citing some vague but irrefutable excuse such a mystery ailment. Or citing some horrific but non-specific threat to his family on the part of “the Establishment.” The Trumpkins would buy it in a minute. These are the people who are convinced Sarah Palin didn’t run in 2012 because Mitt Romney threatened her kids.

    Remember, Donald Trump, at least according to Trump, never loses. He always wins. Could his ego withstand losing in a landslide to a woman??????

  74. Tillman says:

    @Hal_10000: eh, I’ll withhold judgment. Clinton’s bound to court the Lisa Frank demographic in response to this obvious pander.

  75. Andre Kenji says:

    English is not my Native Language. Precisely because of that I would seek someone that has English as his/her First Language to help me during a national televised speech.

  76. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Oh, so going through law school and passing the Bar happens to be much easier than posing nude for a centerfold?

    Amazing what you consider “hard work.” Based on your logic, the best POTUS candidate would be a triple-X centerfold for Swedish erotica.

  77. C. Clavin says:

    @Pch101:
    Well…read what I said…I don’t think the plagiarism is a big deal.
    What is a big deal is what it says about the Trump campaign…and his potential Presidency…as the article I linked to spells out. They can’t even decide if she wrote the speech or if staff did. This isn’t a single isolated incident…the Trump campaign is a dumpster fire. It’s a con-job…just like the Trump University. Designed to sucker in weak and vulnerable dupes, like Jenos, JKB, Jack, bill, Guaneri, etc.
    Again…anyone that thinks this man should be President has serious mental health issues.

  78. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    What I can’t determine is if the criticism against her is so fierce because she’s a woman, or because she’s an immigrant (of the legal type). Are you folks sexists or xenophobes?

    Nope.

    We hate her because she is a conservative woman, and like all conservative women, she is pretty because she is not an embittered feminist.
    Liberal women hate her because they envy her, liberal man hate her because they are effeminate cucks crushed by domineering hags,and don’t let me get started on trannies.

  79. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Scott: I try to avoid conspiracy theories, but there’s a hint that someone sabotaged her speech. In the middle of it, someone stuck in the phrase “he will never ever give up, and — most importantly — he will never ever let you down.”

    That’s right. A RickRoll.

    And I just did a little checking: she speaks Slovenian, Serbian, French, German, and English.

    But since she’s a legal immigrant, she doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt like the “good” immigrants — the illegal ones — get.

  80. Pch101 says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    She also, I understand, speaks five languages, which is four more than Hillary.

    And five more than you.

  81. Jenos Idanian says:

    @grumpy realist: Oh, so going through law school and passing the Bar happens to be much easier than posing nude for a centerfold?

    You really don’t know how to read, do you?

    I said “job.” “Going through law school and passing the Bar” is not a “job.”

    Here’s one way to tell them apart: if you are getting paid to do something, it’s a job. If you’re paying to do something, it’s not a job.

  82. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: And five more than you.

    Go find a cactus, then sit yourself on it most forcefully.

  83. Pch101 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Based upon your criteria, Biden shouldn’t be VP.

    You obviously do have a problem with the plagiarism itself, as you are claiming that it serves as a sort of canary in the coalmine for a Trump administration. There are plenty of legitimate criticisms of Trump, but this one isn’t helping his critics.

  84. Monala says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Michelle Obama’s job involved working with the hospital to identify patients who lacked access to primary care, and connecting them to primary care physicians. In the time that she ran the program, the hospital saw significant decreases in emergency room visits and re-admissions, because patients were getting more preventive care and/or ongoing monitoring of chronic conditions. At the time, the conservative line against her was that she was elitist, since she was trying to steer patients away from the fancy, schmancy U. of Chicago med center into community health clinics (where primary care was available). And somehow that’s now turned into her having a cushy, “no show” job.

  85. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Nice try, but the actual plagiarism isn’t even the issue re: Mrs. Trump, since it’s highly doubtful she was responsible for it.

    The issue is what the plagiarism, and the response to it by the Trump campaign, say about that campaign–and none of it is good.

    Nevertheless, I have also thought it might be a setup, specifically because of the “rickroll.” That doesn’t get in by accident or coincidence, someone put it there. And there isn’t any good reason for that, either.

    Trump should root out and very publicly fire whoever was responsible. His apparent inability or refusal to do so leaves his dear wife out twisting in the wind. What loving husband does that? If someone who worked for me messed my wife over like that, I’d be in his ass with both feet.

  86. Jen says:

    @Jenos Idanian: The criticism isn’t about Melania. She is the victim here. It’s about the campaign, and its inability to manage to pull off the simplest of campaign tasks without screwing up.

    And add to it, this campaign has demonstrated absolutely NO competence, whatsoever, at crisis management.

    The presidency is a four-year commitment to crisis management–and it has to be incredibly skilled at this, because a president can shift world markets. A president can either calm or exacerbate global turmoil.

    They bungled this, and badly. Just like just about every other thing they’ve put their hands on.

  87. J-Dub says:

    Their going for the brony vote!

  88. humanoid.panda says:

    And I just did a little checking: she speaks Slovenian, Serbian, French, German, and English.

    So, as she is from Slovenia, then she has 2 of those languages from home (Serbian and Slovenianc) , and probably studied another two at school (German and English). She did probably pick up French as an adult, which is nice, but not unusual for someone from that part of the world. In the meanwhile, I am still remember when the fact that John Kerry’s wife spoke 5 languages was evidence of elitism and being out of touch.

    I try to avoid conspiracy theories, but there’s a hint that someone sabotaged her speech.

    And that’s the gist of it, doesnt’ it? Trump runs a famously skinny operation, and yet there is a mole/saboteur in the very heart of his inner circle, if your conspiracy theory is true. So, it’s quite possible that Melania is a brilliant woman, much smarter than Hillary of Michelle Obama. But her husband, alas, is rather incompetent.

  89. Monala says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Perhaps the speech saboteur is the same person who created the original (since withdrawn) Trump-Pierce logo, which had the T penetrating the loop of the P?

  90. humanoid.panda says:

    Like seriously: if your defense of Mailia is that one of the 10-20 staffers employed by her husband is a mole, then what you are saying is that Trump should disband his campaign and let Kasich and Ryan take over.

  91. Guarneri says:

    Trump’s wife should have blamed it on a rogue YouTube video, or negligently presided over the murder of four Americans. Maybe negligently had it erased real time before it hit the TV trucks. Now THAT would be competence, and defended at all costs by the progressive boot lickers here.

    I do have to admit, though, I wish she had said something more substantial, more profound. Like Hope and Change. Or, I’m with her. Now competence like that will put you on your heels.

  92. Mikey says:

    @Guarneri:

    I do have to admit, though, I wish she had said something more substantial, more profound. Like Hope and Change.

    No kidding–whatever happened to that “Hope and Change” guy?

    Oh, yeah, he got elected. Twice.

  93. al-Alameda says:

    @JKB:

    Yes, the phrasing was “extremely careless”. However, there is no evidence of intent and no “reasonable prosecutor” would prosecute.

    I agree. She, despite the serious nature of her “crime,” should not be prosecuted.

    However, I must leave open the door for an extended period of persecution – I certainly recommend 4 to 5 years of constant multiple congressional investigations into this matter.

  94. Monala says:

    @Monala: agh, Trump-Pence logo.

  95. gVOR08 says:

    @wr:

    Meanwhile Melania Trump, a woman for whom I’d rarely find a lot of sympathy, is being made a national laughingstock simply because she trusted the speechwriters her husband hired for her.

    Can you for one second picture Michelle Obama being caught in that position?

  96. Paul Hooson says:

    Trump’s third wife(for the moment) has difficulty writing her own speech, so she rips off a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama. Then the Trump Campaign seeks to somehow blame Hillary Clinton for this. Am I missing any part of this trainwreck?

  97. PJ says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I try to avoid conspiracy theories, but there’s a hint that someone sabotaged her speech. In the middle of it, someone stuck in the phrase “he will never ever give up, and — most importantly — he will never ever let you down.”

    That’s right. A RickRoll.

    And what does that say about Trump’s campaign? That someone intending on sabotaging is in a position where he or she gets to write his wife’s speech?

    Pathetic.

  98. stonetools says:

    @Guarneri:

    Apparently the Hope and Change guy ran such a good campaign that the Trump staffers had to copy one of the campaign’s speeches.

    It’s telling that the greatest businessman and deal maker in the history of world can’t pull off even basic campaign stuff, and his staff has to crib lines from the one of the speeches of the family that he and his followers have constantly belittled.

    Karma is a b*tch.

  99. Moosebreath says:

    @Paul Hooson:

    “Am I missing any part of this trainwreck?”

    What it says about Donald Trump’s campaign. For that, see Bush the Younger’s speechwriter, David Frum. A sample of his 10 reasons why this is an epic fail:

    “3) Since Sunday, every journalist at this convention has been collecting examples of the Trump campaign’s failures and incompetence: the quarrel with Ohio Governor John Kasich, the absent senators and governors, the no-show donors, the convention’s financial embarrassments, the floor fight over rules, the lack of a proper schedule, and the defective apps and other technology. Suddenly, there is one easy-to-understand incident that encapsulates in one grim joke all this convention’s cavalcade of derp.

    9) Plagiarism draws attention to content of the passage plagiarized. In 2008, Michelle Obama summed up the values that she had learned from her parents and that she and Barack Obama now tried to instill in their children: work hard; tell the truth; keep your promises; treat others with dignity and respect. Donald Trump epically does not tell the truth, does not keep his promises, and does not treat others with dignity and respect. A plagiarized speech (and the failure to detect the plagiarism) pretty strongly confirms that the Trumps do not much care about hard work, either. “Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee.””

  100. Tyrell says:

    I have this graphic organizer that I made. It compares the stands and proposals of the candidates on: economy, health insurance, defense, education, business, government reform, taxes and tax reform, Social Security, terrorism, trade agreements, crime, immigration, Federal Reserve, gun control. I will attempt to fill this organizer in and I am trying to use Trumps convention statements for this.
    If anyone thinks of other categories, please feel free to suggest.

  101. gVOR08 says:

    @Tyrell: Seriously? Why write down Trump’s policy statements? He’ll contradict them the next day. No one knows what Trump’s positions really are, least of all Trump.

  102. KM says:

    @Paul Hooson @Moosebreath:

    “Am I missing any part of this trainwreck?”

    What it says about Donald Trump’s campaign.

    I would add what it say about supporters of Trump dismissing this in general. Plagiarism is one of those things we drilling to schoolchildren as wrong; ripping off another’s work can land one in professional and legal hot water as an adult. Throughout the foundational period of our lives we are instructed that plagiarism is a bad thing that can hurt your livelihood and here’s people defending it at the National Convention. It’s anti-intellectualism at its finest on live TV and all over the blogs. What’s more, this is something that an everyday person is going to understand more then the email server – everyone remember being scolded to not copy off your neighbor and the stubborn defensiveness of those who got caught and tried to play it off.

    It’s pretty damn obvious somebody slacked off and got caught red-handed. Personally, I don’t think it was Melania but the speechwriter who just DGAF. However, its her name attached to it, her reputation stained. Trump’s supposed to be a master at marketing and personal branding. Well, his wife’s just been turned into a mockery because of shoddy marketing. She’s supposed to be his touch of class, the soft humanizing touch. Gustopher up thread had it right that there was a great opportunity here to spin it for them and they blew it. Where were the professionals when you need them? Incompetency all around.

  103. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Tyrell:

    Do you do this often for elections? Just curious. It’s an interesting tactic.

    It compares the stands and proposals of the candidates on: economy, health insurance, defense, education, business, government reform, taxes and tax reform, Social Security, terrorism, trade agreements, crime, immigration, Federal Reserve, gun control.

    The environment is one, as well as medicaid/medicare. And I don’t know if intelligence is covered under “defense” but the intelligence agencies under both Obama and Bush haven’t exactly been covering themselves in glory.

  104. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: So based on your definition, Mother Theresa never had “a job”. Nor did Dr. Livingstone. Neither did Eleanor Roosevelt. All totally people to be ignored, right?

    And neither did your grandmother, right? Nor has any housewife “ever held a job”. So none of their efforts are worth anything, right?

  105. Pch101 says:

    @Moosebreath:

    It really doesn’t matter much because the process of speechwriting is disconnected from the process of policymaking. A speechwriter is writing what is effectively advertising copy, jingles for politicians.

    I would be more concerned that one of Trump’s advisors is demanding that Ayatollah Khomeini and other Muslim leaders denounce the attack in Nice, even though (a) the perp’s connections to terrorism are not yet established and (b) Khomeini has been dead for almost thirty years. Ignorant reactionaries would be a polite way to describe these people.

  106. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tyrell: You missed “Fraudulent Enterprises”.

  107. Jenos Idanian says:

    @KM: Plagiarism is one of those things we drilling to schoolchildren as wrong; ripping off another’s work can land one in professional and legal hot water as an adult.

    And if you get caught, you might get sentenced to eight years as Vice President of the United States.

    SURE, it’s a “big effing deal.”

  108. Moosebreath says:

    @Pch101:

    “It really doesn’t matter much because the process of speechwriting is disconnected from the process of policymaking. A speechwriter is writing what is effectively advertising copy, jingles for politicians.”

    I think you are missing my (and Frum’s) point. Yes, Trump would be a disaster, and not just for the reasons in the examples cited. However, this slip-up which harms Trump on so many levels in such an easy to understand way at such a high profile time makes it less likely that Trump will get into the Oval Office to become such a disaster. That is why it matters.

  109. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    SURE, it’s a “big effing deal.”

    Not to me. To me it’s just one more punch line on the Joke that is the whole Republican Party. And if Trump wins in Nov, I’ll laugh then too because the joke will be on me.

  110. Pch101 says:

    @Moosebreath:

    I understood the point. But you’re trying to attach significance to it that isn’t there, akin to those who freaked out over Clinton’s email server simply because they wanted to have excuses to complain about Clinton.

    Mistakes get made. This was not that big of a mistake and the person who gave the speech isn’t running for office.

    Nor are Democrats above such things (obviously). If it was a Democrat who had made the mistake, then there would be little to no furor about it on this thread. (Jenos would be whining about it like a wounded puppy, while most of the rest of us would deride him as we told him to get a life.)

    What is telling is the Trump organization’s response to it. That failure to acknowledge the mistake is what you should catch your attention, and a lot of hyperbole could be avoided if we would focus on what matters, namely Trump’s seeming inability to respond in real time to events as they develop. For a guy who wings it much of the time, he sure doesn’t seem to be particularly good at it.

  111. wr says:

    @gVOR08: “Can you for one second picture Michelle Obama being caught in that position?”

    Absolutely not. But since neither Michelle nor Melania is running for office, I don’t feel compelled to measure them against each other. I’ve made it this far in my life without feeling compelled to form an opinion of any of the Mrs. Trumps, and really don’t want to start now.

  112. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Shorter Jenos: “Please add plagiarism to the ever growing list of things about which I know nothing. Thank you.”

  113. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    SURE, it’s a “big effing deal.”

    It was a big enough deal to effectively end Biden’s ’88 run. it’s also worth noting that Biden had cited Kinnock on previous occasions, though he did not do so for the Iowa speech from which the controversy arose.

    Are those “Trump Brand” kneepads comfortable?

  114. Jenos Idanian says:

    @wr: Normally, I’d ignore you, but if you’re going to be so blatantly stupid, I feel obligated to spell it out for you.

    Joe Biden was caught plagiarizing while in college. And in the 1988 presidential campaign, he repeatedly plagiarized other politicians. He even plagiarized one British politician’s life story, claiming that his ancestors had been coal miners (they weren’t) so he could use Neil Kinnock’s words verbatim.

    And Joe Biden is currently wrapping up eight years of being vice president.

    On the other hand, Melania Trump parroted some vapid sentiments that weren’t even that well written in the first place. It’s like robbing a bank and running off with sacks of pennies.

    That’s “Longer Jenos.” Sadly, you probably got lost around the fifth word.

  115. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Did you miss the part where Biden invented coal mining ancestors to better fit Kinnock’s life story?

    But since you’re bringing up knee pads, let me answer you more directly: go fellate a satchel of phalli.

  116. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Look on the bright side Jenos. Being the minnow that you are, you will never get a chance to kiss Trumps ass in person, but if you have a dream, if you persevere, you just might get to meet Chris Christy or Newt Gingrich and, you know, pucker up for one of the lap dogs.

  117. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    That’s “Longer Jenos.”

    Do you think spending time defending Melania Trump on the internet is time well spent?

  118. gVOR08 says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Michelle Obama
    Father: city water plant employee
    Undergrad: Princeton, Sociology BA cum laude
    Grad: Harvard Law JD
    Jobs: assoc attorney w/ private firm, Assistant to Mayor of Chicago, Assistant Commissioner of Chicago Planning and Development, Exec Dir Office of Public Allies (nonprofit), U of Chi Associate Dean of Student Services, U of Chi Hospitals director and later VP for Community and External Affairs, First Lady.

    Melania Trump
    Father: communist state bureaucrat
    Undergrad: U of Ljubljana, Architecture. Republican Party says she got a degree, other sources differ
    Grad: none
    Jobs: model, fashion designer

    You were saying something about who worked harder?

  119. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: You got pictures? He said they were all “no show jobs”. Melania definitely had to show up, he’s got the pictures to prove it.

  120. Davebo says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I try to avoid conspiracy theories, but there’s a hint that someone sabotaged her speech. In the middle of it, someone stuck in the phrase “he will never ever give up, and — most importantly — he will never ever let you down.”

    That’s right. A RickRoll.

    I’d say it’s worse than a RickRoll coming from his third wife who he met while married to his second wife.

    Will the United States have to sign a prenup should Trump win?

  121. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    She also, I understand, speaks five languages

    So she can plagiarize in multiple languages? Well that is impressive.

    BTW, It’s pretty common for Europeans (and Mexicans for that matter) to speak several languages. I realize that with your rather limited horizons you probably are not aware of this.

  122. Davebo says:

    I cut her a lot of slack. Not many women would want Melania’s job even with the money.

    But honestly, the Trump wives, sans the first prove yet again that immigrants are willing to do jobs Americans won’t.

  123. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    no-show job at the University of Chicago Hospitals

    You see, here lies the problem with accepting anonymous chain emails as legitimate sources of information. You end up looking like a jerk when you repeat what they say in the company of educated people…

  124. Jenos Idanian says:

    @gVOR08: Melania: highly successful model and designer.

    Michelle: lots of paper-pushing titles, then a job that she got RIGHT AFTER the Hospitals got a hefty earmark from Senator Husband, and fulfilled such a critical function that after she left, they didn’t bother hiring a replacement.

  125. gVOR08 says:
  126. jukeboxgrad says:

    RIGHT AFTER the Hospitals got a hefty earmark from Senator Husband

    You really need some new material. I addressed this exact bullshit from you over four years ago.

  127. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Melania: highly successful model and designer.

    Really, what do you base that “highly successful” on? I’ve seen some revealing photos: I’ve not seen anything about her great designs. But whatever.

    I don’t think even you yourself believe that nonsensical comparison. But ,hey, Jenos, focus. What matters is not the worthiness of the ladies in question, or even the prose plagiarized. What’s at issue is the shambolic response of the Trump campaign. Care to defend that, or will you continue with your attempts at deflection?

  128. Monala says:

    @Jenos Idanian: the profile of her in GQ begs to differ about her being highly successful (note: I can’t vouch for the article’s validity, but it did interview many of her friends, former roommates, and former employers). She was limited for a long time in terms of what she could achieve as a model in Yugoslavia, and when the country broke up, she left to seek her fortune in first Europe and then the U.S. However, by then she was already in her mid-20s, which meant, according to the article, she was already aging out of the modeling industry. Friends noted that she struggled to get jobs, and basically her lucky break was meeting, dating and then marrying Trump. The article also notes that she didn’t finish her degree in design, but has made a career for herself since her marriage began by designing jewelry and selling it on QVC.

    This is not to slam Melania; from the article, she sounds like a nice person, if a little boring. Apparently, she is shy, quiet, and willing to make herself into whatever Trump desires that she be. That personality seems to be what piqued Trump’s interest: because she is shy and quiet, she didn’t respond to his overtures initially, so he, liking the chase, pursued; and because she is willing to be whatever Trump wants her to be, well, you can see why Trump likes that.

  129. @Neil Hudelson:

    Either Melania’s professional political speechwriter(s) was so stupid as to think that directly cribbing from the immediately-prior candidate’s wife’s speech would not get caught by the internets, or…

    I see enough plagiarism from adult, professionals in graduate school to know never to underestimate stupidity or laziness in this arena.

    Seriously, a lot of the defense of this sounds like things students have told me over the years, and it sounds just as ridiculous in that context as it does here.

  130. @Stormy Dragon:

    I guess I have a hard time believing it’s not coincidence, because if you were going to plagiarize a speech, why would you plagiarize those paragraphs? It’s like robbing a bank so you can steal the pens chained to the tables.

    Laziness and sloppiness often emerge when people are facing the stress of a deadline. And, further, people are more apt to think that the banal will not get caught.

    Again, I have seen a lot of plagiarism is my day, and it is often the unremarkable stuff that gets stolen.

  131. Two general points:

    1) Biden took a big hit for his plagiarism, given that it knocked him out of the 1988 race. He became VP two decades later–granted, he remained in the Senate. As such, there was a price paid. I do not defend what he did, but to pretend like there were no ramifications is simply to ignore history.

    2) There is zero reason to criticize Melania personally (or, as some are doing, try to inflate her significance), save perhaps for her claim that she wrote the speech (although she did admit to getting help). Really, this is all just evidence of a poorly run campaign and is not the story the Reps wanted out of the first night of the convention.

    (And for anyone who thinks Melania is being mistreated, I thought that the press coverage of the speech last night was filled with people going out of their way to be kind to someone who clearly is an amateur in this context).

  132. Pch101 says:

    Speaking of the convention, Mitch McConnell is carrying the water for his new best buddy Trump. If McConnell’s speech is a sign of what’s time to come, then we have four months of Scaliaemailghazicare in our future.

  133. Jen says:

    Either Melania’s professional political speechwriter(s) was so stupid as to think that directly cribbing from the immediately-prior candidate’s wife’s speech would not get caught by the internets, or…

    Several sources say that the professional speechwriter was Matthew Scully. He submitted a draft “a few weeks ago” and NBC News has “obtained” that draft. It did not contain the paragraphs in question.

    Someone else inside the campaign adjusted the speech. If it was Melania, we now know why no one will be fired over this.

    According to the NBC piece on this, “A senior Trump aide tells NBC that Scully submitted an early draft, but that draft was rejected and the process started over. The aide said Scully’s initial draft didn’t make its way into the final version of the speech.”

    So the professional’s version was scrapped, and this campaign distraction is what has resulted. If we take nothing more away from this than that, it is instructive. They ignored the counsel of professionals and went their own way, and in doing so created a crisis when there should have been none.

  134. Guarneri says:

    I just skimmed the entire thread and didn’t see one of you lying, stinking dogs commenting on Obama’s plagiarism.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-19/obama-administration-explains-its-own-plagiarism-was-merely-inspiration

    I’m shocked. Actually I’m not, because you are stinking, lyin’ dogs.

  135. Mikey says:

    @Guarneri: Obama is not running for President. Do try to stay focused on what’s actually relevant, which is the Trump campaign’s incompetence in response to this plagiarism.

  136. Guarneri says:

    @Mikey:

    Bob and weave. Obfuscate. Play high school debater games. Just another lying, stinking dog.

  137. Pch101 says:

    Zero Hedge and meds go well together.

  138. Pch101 says:

    @Mikey:

    It was a story back during the 2008 campaign, and Obama did lift the words and concept from another speech (whose author encouraged him to borrow them.)*

    Was it technically plagiarism? Sort of. (He essentially borrowed a two-word catchphrase wit the consent of its author, but did provide attribution.) Did it bode poorly for his presidency? Of course not.

    *I didn’t read the Zero Hedge link because I know better, but it was widely reported at the time. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-accused-of-plagiarism-in-speech/

  139. Pch101 says:

    @Pch101:

    Sorry for the typos: the catchphrase was borrowed with the consent of its author, but Obama did not provide attribution.

  140. Mikey says:

    @Guarneri: Keep trying to shift the blame and spin the truth like your hero Trump, who tonight officially became the worst major party Presidential nominee in American history.

  141. Mikey says:

    @Pch101: Zero Hedge is essentially a Russian propaganda outlet.

  142. anjin-san says:

    You know, Jenos is so right about those darned Muslims. They NEVER speak out against terrorism.

    70,000 Indian clerics issue fatwa against terrorists

  143. Kylopod says:

    “Many foreigners are amused that Americans find bilingualism exotic, especially as it shades into outright astonishment when Americans encounter people who speak more than two languages. For example, if you meet East Africans, you will presumably communicate with them in English; meanwhile, they more than likely also speak not only Swahili, East Africa’s linguistic coin of the realm, but also the local language of the area where they were born–and often, yet another local language. Finally, if they are from a country once colonized by a power other than England, they probably speak that power’s official language as well–French if from Burundi, Portuguese if from Mozambique, etc. East Africans think nothing of this, yet they have to get used to being treated as if they glowed in the dark or could breathe underwater because they are multilingual. One East African I know from Mozambique speaks English, Portuguese, Swahili, and the local languages Yao and Nyanja and thinks no more of this than I do of my ability to boil water.” — John McWhorter, Word on the Street

  144. Heather says:

    No matter who gets in, it won’t be pretty. I hate plagiarism it is horrible. I have seen worse,
    Don’t love the stuff Kat Fillary is made of . When will Bill finally write his book; The Art of The Feel.

  145. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    SURE, it’s a “big effing deal.”

    One of my teacher friends informed me a senior student of his was caught not citing in a major paper for another class, thus received an automatic 0 grade and a “Cheating” disciplinary mark on his academic record. He will now have to attend summer school and might have to repeat the class depending on that outcome. He’s not going to get to walk across the stage; he may even need to repeat the year. My friend was frustrated because this was an incredibly bright student who just got lazy and now is going to suffer massively for it.

    So YEAH, big effing deal for 99% of the people. … unless you were trying to be clever and point out that the rich and well-connected play by different rules. In which case, well done sir. Trump’s campaign should not get a pass for something that would fail out your average student – how is that possibly showing us how to Make America Great Again?

  146. stonetools says:

    @Guarneri:

    And for the record, Obama’s “plagiarism ” was referenced upthread, as in:

    It’s not like this is uncommon in campaigns. Obama was cribbing from other Axelrod clients in ’08, as well as failing to attribute the poet that penned one of his most famous lines.

    by Dividist.

    So skim better, moron.

  147. al-Alameda says:

    @Heather:

    Don’t love the stuff Kat Fillary is made of . When will Bill finally write his book; The Art of The Feel.

    I think Bill’s book will be titled, “Linda Tripp: Where Is She Now?”

  148. PJ says:

    @stonetools:
    And what Obama did is more like what Donald Trump Jr. did last night, then what Melania Trump did.

  149. Jen says:

    Additional evidence that this campaign cannot crisis-manage its way out of a paper bag…the speechwriter who today released a statement saying she was responsible for the lifted passages works for the Trump Organization–which, depending on how it was handled may be a violation of campaign law.