Deval Patrick: I asked Obama to use my words
Michael Roston and David Edwards
Published: Tuesday February 19, 2008

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Two days after the Clinton campaign first published videos on YouTube that sparked allegations of plagiarism on the part of Barack Obama, the press was still on the case. And in an appearance on ABC News' Good Morning America on Tuesday, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, an Obama friend and supporter, addressed the issue.

Clinton campaign official Kiki McClean told GMA, "The focus of the speech is how important words are, then you find out the words weren't his. That's the irony of the whole issue here."

Patrick was the source of Obama's allegedly lifted words, and he laughed off the accusation of plagiarism, calling it "elaborate" and "extravagant."

"I think it's a sad comment on the state of the race and the state of our politics that the Clinton campaign is taking this particular tack," he told Diane Sawyer.

The Democratic governor also said it was not necessary for Obama to credit Patrick for drawing from his words.

"It's not like he's writing a law review article or a book or something like that," he argued. "He should have credited me with the use of two words, meaning those words, 'just words.'"

Some voters interviewed by ABC News appeared to agree with Patrick.

"I don't care what he says about someone else's words," one voter at a Clinton campaign event said.

A video clip from Patrick's appearance on Good Morning America is presented below.

This video is from ABC's Good Morning America, broadcast February 19, 2008.

Transcript via closed captions

:: now let's turn back to the political news here at home. voters heading t the polls in three states this morning. republican primary in washington state, caucus of democrats in hawaii and primary of both parties in wisconsin. polls show that the race there is tight which made the last 72 hours as heated as anything we've seen in the race so far. and abc's kate snow has a ring-side seat from milwaukee, wisconsin. kate.

:: good morning. they'll be filling out ballots in wisconsin but hillary clinton and barack obama heading to the next big battle. she in texas, him in ohio. where things don't look so good for clinton. a new poll shows a virtual tie in texas.

:: i'm asking you to hire me for the hoardest job in the world.

:: reporter: her campaign seized on an obama mess-up. he admitted he borrowed language from his friend, massachusetts deval patrick for a speech last summer.

:: don't tell me words don't matter. i have a dream, just words.

:: the focus of the speech is how important words are, then you find out the words weren't his. that's the irony of the whole issue here.

:: reporter: obama said it was no big deal.

:: deval and i do trade ideas all of the time. he occasionally used lines of mine. i notice senator clinton used words of mine as well. i don't think that's the kind of stuff the workers here are concerned about.

:: reporter: our reporter asked by obama didn't simply give patrick credit.

:: i thought they were good lines. i'm sure i should have.

:: reporter: voters we asked at a clinton rally didn't seem to care much.

:: i don't care what he said about news of somebody else's words.

:: look what they say, they do. not what they're saying.

:: reporter: both candidates are desperate for anything tt might help them stand out from wisconsin to hawaii. obama is native sun but look who spent the weekend island hopping. chelsea clinton got the royal treatment even tried a bit of hula. hillary clinton trying to pick up a couple delegates but here in wisconsin she's hoping that the whole battle over language will stick.

:: all right. let's turn now to the man whose words that were originally his words. governor deval patrick. he's another harvard lawyer who ran against a female opponent in his campaign. he joins us in a "gma" exclusive.

:: governor patrick, good morning to you.

:: good morning, diane.

:: the clinton campaign accused barack obama of plagiarizing the words you used in the 2006 campaign. you're laughing. that's a serious charge.

:: i am laughing. it's an elaborate charge, an extravagant one. i've known barack for almost 15 years now. we talked a good deal during my own campaign and his. we fully expected. i fully expected he would sus sustain a charge at some point trying to belittle his ability to motivate people with language. i got the same kind of attack when i was running f governor of massachusetts. i told him about i had responded because i think word dos matter.

:: so you told him this. but he, himself, said he should have credited you.

:: well, look, i hear that. it's a little -- it's not like he's writing a law review article or a book or something like that. he should have credited me with the use of two words. meaning those words, just words. i suppose he should have credited the declaration of independence, and john f. kennedy and franklin roosevelt whom i quod as well. these are iconic phrases. the point is, we have a candidate here, barack obama with terrific ideas, with more law making experience than hillary clinton as fine a candidate she is but pe has added vision to motivate people to reach for it. that's a terrific asset to bring to bear.

:: would you see the same about all this if hillary clinton used your words?

:: sure. they're good words. it's a great argument. and a logical one, frankly. i think it's a sad comment on the state of the race and state of our politics that the clinton campaign is taking this particular tact.

:: let me tackle this one more time, though. they say very specifically that if you're going to talk about the value of words, this is a quote, the words ought to be your own. in fact we have some video. senator clinton came back on the press plane, you can see her there in a casual gathering. she, her self-this said. if your whole candidacy is about words, they should be your own words. is that fair? isn't that fair?

:: no, i don't think that's fair. first of all, barack obama's candidacy is not only about words, it's about really great ideas. it's about a record of legislative and community activism. about bringing change and being an agent of change. and the dimension of being able to articulate what that vision is and motivate people to reach for it is an added dimension. so, sure, the competitor candidate is going to try to trivialize that. i don't and i don think most voters do. nobody's great policies by the way end up on the sides of monuments or buildings in washington. it is those words, ability to inspire. i think that is a tremendous power of barack obama. i'm neither surprised nor troubled that he used the words that i asked him to use of my own.

:: governor patrick, thanks for being with us.

:: thank you, diane.