Perhaps the biggest news to come out of the first night of the Republican National Convention was Melania Trump's keynote speech—not because it was exceptional, but because the wife of presumtive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump seemingly borrowed parts of it from Michelle Obama's 2008 Democratic National Convention address.
Melania was mocked on Twitter from Monday evening into Tuesday afternoon, but some came to her defense, claiming that President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden have pulled similar stunts in the past. Posted to Twitter on Tuesday, a video of two of Obama's speeches showed then then-presidential candidate in 2007 purportedly "stealing" a few lines from a 2006 Deval Patrick speech and a 2003 John Edwards speech, respectively.
"I could never vote for a man who's wife plagiarized a speech" pic.twitter.com/XlsOyQ9EPN
Obama plagiarized Deval Patrick. Biden plagiarized Neil Kinnock. Melania plagiarized Michelle O. This is funny, but it isn't a scandal.
However, Patrick later came to Obama's defense and reportedly dismissed the plagiarism allegations. The president said Patrick allowed him to use parts of his speech, but forgot to give credit. "I was on the stump, and he had suggested that we use these lines. I thought they were good lines," Obama said, according to CBS News.
Others pointed out that Biden once sparked a scandal when he lifted a large part of a speech made by British Labor Party Politician Neil Kinnock made in May 1987, remodeling it for his presidential campaign several months later. The original speech read:
"Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because our predecessors were thick? Does anybody really think that they didn't get what we had because they didn't have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment? Of course not. It was because there was no platform upon which they could stand."
And Joe Biden's modification:
"Why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go a university? Why is it that my wife... is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? ...Is it because they didn't work hard? My ancestors who worked in the coal mines of northeast Pennsylvania and would come after 12 hours and play football for four hours? It's because they didn't have a platform on which to stand."