Obama uses Clinton's 1994 speech

Pro-Obama pundit Dana Milbank notes a curious fact about the President’s campaign speeches:

As he barnstorms the country in these closing days before the midterms, he has borrowed Bill Clinton’s 1994 stump speech — in some cases, word for word.

“It’s up to you to remember that this election is a choice,” Obama said in a recent speech. “It’s a choice between the past and the future; a choice between hope and fear; a choice between falling backwards and moving forwards. And I don’t know about you, but I want to move forward. I don’t want to go backward.”

Compare that to this common Clinton passage from ’94: “Ladies and gentlemen, this election, all over America, represents a choice, a choice between hope and fear . . . between whether we’re going forward or we’re going to go back. I think I know the answer to that. You want to keep going forward.”

Obama has even extended Clinton’s automotive metaphor of ’94. Clinton’s model: “You know, if you drive your car and there’s a lot of stuff on the windshield, you could think it’s dark outside when the sun shining. . . . That’s what they’ve done. They’ve put a lot of dirt on America’s windshield. We got to clean it off between now and Tuesday. Will you help? Will you do your part? Will you go forward? . . . Think about it like this: Every one of you is in the driver’s seat.”

In Obama’s model, Republicans drove a car into a ditch and were “kicking dirt down into the ditch, kicking dirt in our faces, but we kept on pushing. Finally we got this car up on level ground. And, yes, it’s a little beat up. . . . But it’s pointing in the right direction. And now we’ve got the Republicans tapping us on the shoulder, saying, ‘we want the keys back.’ You can’t have the keys back. You don’t know how to drive. You can ride with us if you want, but you got to sit in the back seat. We’re going to put middle-class America in the front seat. . . . I’m going forwards, with all of you.”

via Dana Milbank – Obama isn’t ducking role in election reprise of ’94.

I don’t consider this plagiarism.  There are only so many cliches that one can use to describe both presidents’ dilemmas, and I’m sure they are in the public domain.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    One wonders if that kind of rhetoric actually convinces anyone to change their mind on anything, or if it’s just yet more polarizing.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    One wonders if that kind of rhetoric actually convinces anyone to change their mind on anything, or if it’s just yet more polarizing.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I hope I’m not the only one on this site who thought of Rosa Parks when Obama said that the GOP needs to ride in the back seat. One would have figured that our first black President would have made this obvious connection, but apparently not–or at least he’s hoping the rest of us are historically illiterate enough to miss the obvious.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I hope I’m not the only one on this site who thought of Rosa Parks when Obama said that the GOP needs to ride in the back seat. One would have figured that our first black President would have made this obvious connection, but apparently not–or at least he’s hoping the rest of us are historically illiterate enough to miss the obvious.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bike Bubba expressed concern (@2) that he might be “the only one on this site who thought of Rosa Parks when Obama said that the GOP needs to ride in the back seat”, but no need to fear, Bubba! That talking point has been bouncing around the “conservative” echosphere for some time now. You’re not even the first say anything about that on this blog. That credit goes to Carl Vehse[1], who charmingly added the word “niggardly” to his comment, just to see if you were paying attention.

    But hey, let’s hear more about how Obama is a secret racist, in addition to being a secret Kenyan, secret Muslim, and so on.

    [1]geneveith.com/2010/10/26/the-insanity-charge/#comment-95328

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Bike Bubba expressed concern (@2) that he might be “the only one on this site who thought of Rosa Parks when Obama said that the GOP needs to ride in the back seat”, but no need to fear, Bubba! That talking point has been bouncing around the “conservative” echosphere for some time now. You’re not even the first say anything about that on this blog. That credit goes to Carl Vehse[1], who charmingly added the word “niggardly” to his comment, just to see if you were paying attention.

    But hey, let’s hear more about how Obama is a secret racist, in addition to being a secret Kenyan, secret Muslim, and so on.

    [1]geneveith.com/2010/10/26/the-insanity-charge/#comment-95328


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