Change you can Xerox


Change you can Xerox

"Change you can Xerox" was a phrase spoken by American Democratic Presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton to Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama during the 2008 Democratic debate.

It mocked Obama's campaign slogan, "Change we can believe in", [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/23/us/23adbox.html?fta=y&pagewanted=all NY Times Advertisement ] ] by reinforcing an accusation of plagiarism - that he had Xeroxed (photocopied) from someone else's material. The remark drew a mixed reaction from the Democratic debate audience.

Context

The debate was held on February 21, 2008 at the Auditorium in Austin, Texas.

Transcript

A [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/21/us/politics/21text-demdebate.html?pagewanted=print full transcript] of the 2008 Democratic debates is available, as is a [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHkcyxIqpvk video] of the debate.

The relevant portion of that transcript follows.

Host: I think one of the points that John King was alluding to in talking about some of Senator Clinton's comments is there has been a lot of attention lately on some of your speeches, that they're very similar to some of the speeches by your friend and supporter, Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts. And Senator Clinton's campaign has made a big issue of this. To be blunt, they've accused you of plagiarism.

Barack Obama: Well, look, the -- first of all, it's not a lot of speeches. There are two lines in speeches that I've been giving over the last couple of weeks. I've been campaigning now for the last two years. Deval is a national co-chairman of my campaign and suggested an argument that I share, that words are important, words matter, and the implication that they don't, I think, diminishes how important it is to speak to the American people directly about making America as good as its promise. And Barbara Jordan understood this as well as anybody.

Now, the notion that I had plagiarized from somebody who's one of my national co-chairs -- (laughter) -- who gave me the line and suggested that I use it, I think is silly. (Cheers, applause.)

And -- you know, but -- but -- but this is where we start getting into silly season in politics, and I think people start getting discouraged about it. (Cheers, applause.) They don't want -- what they want is, how are we going to create good jobs at good wages? How are we going to provide health care to the American people? How are we going to make sure that college is affordable?

So what I have been talking about in these speeches -- and I got to admit, some of them are pretty good -- (laughter, cheers, applause) -- what I've been talking about is not just hope and not just inspiration; it's a $4,000 tuition credit for every student every year -- (cheers, applause) -- in exchange for national service so that college becomes more affordable. I've been talking about making sure that we change our tax code so that working families actually get relief. I have been talking about making sure that we bring an end to this war in Iraq so that we can start bringing our troops home and invest money here in the United States. (Applause.)

And so just to finish up, these are very specific, concrete, detailed proposals, many of them which I've been working on for years now. Senator Clinton has a fine record.

So do I. And I'm happy to have a debate on the issues, but what we shouldn't be spending time doing is tearing each other down. We should be spending time lifting the country up. (Cheers, applause.)

Host: Senator Clinton, is it the silly season?

Hillary Clinton: Well, I think that if your candidacy is going to be about words, then they should be your own words. That's, I think, a very simple proposition. (Applause.) And you know -- you know, lifting whole passages from someone else's speeches is not change you can believe in; it's change you can Xerox. And I just don't think --

Barack Obama: Oh, but that -- that's not what happened there --

Hillary Clinton: No, but -- you know, but Barack, it is, because if -- you know, if you look -- (jeers from the audience) -- if you look -- if you look -- if you look at the YouTube of these videos, it does raise questions.

Aftermath

Clinton's remark was reported in the media.

Hillary Clinton's supporter Rep Charles Rangel described Clinton's remark: "Someone fed her a line that didn’t work. That’s all.”.

References

External links

* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHkcyxIqpvk Full YouTube video of the exchange]
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8M6x1H08aFc Side by side videos of Deval Patrick and Barack Obama's speeches] on YouTube


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