Public Speaking Expert
US President Barack Obama has been accused of copy parts of a speech made by former US President Bush.
The two politicians may be poles apart in their political beliefs but if a former speech writer for George Bush is to believed, their speeches are strangely alike.
The speech in question is the Obama State of the Union speech for 2014, one of the most important speeches that the President makes all year.
Attention has been drawn to alleged similarities between the two speech by a former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen who appeared on Fox News to claim that the Obama speech had many elements copied from the 2007 State of the Union speech made by President Bush.
Marc Thiessen said on Fox news: “Thee were lines like, “Our job is to help Americans build a future of hope and opportunity. A future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy. A future of hope and opportunity requires our citizens have affordable and available health care. Extending opportunity and hope depends on a stable supply of energy.” All that came from the 2007 State of the Union address by George W. Bush. So, Barack Obama has gone from blaming George W. Bush to plagiarising George W. Bush.”
But is it true that President Obama has copied a former speech from his political rival? An article from slate.com by David Weigel claims that this is not the case at all and that instead this was another case of poor journalism from many reporters around the world who chose to listen to the views and claims of one man but without checking the facts about the speeches in question.
David Weigel has gone on to check the placement of the lines claimed to have been lifted from the Bush speech and used in the Obama speech and came to the conclusion that while some parts of the speech may have had similar sentiment, none of it was copied at all.
He noted, for example, that the line “Our job is to help Americans build a future of hope and opportunity” did appear in the Bush speech in 2007 in the following form “Our job is to make life better for our fellow Americans, and to help them to build a future of hope and opportunity – and this is the business before us tonight.” The same lines do not however appear in the Obama speech with the closest actual reference being “Opportunity is who we are”.
This and many other examples have been found to prove the claims to be false and to show that president Obama had not used elements of a previous speech from Bush to make his point.
There is no reason not reference another source in any speech that you make, as long as you give credit to the source. Anyone accused of copying though is always able to defend themselves by asking for evidence as to the case and if none can be found then it is impossible to make accusations such as this.