Plagiarism in political speeches is pretty common.
Joe Biden - 1987 Campaign:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Biden_presidential_campaign,_1988
Major controversy beset Biden's candidacy, beginning on September 12, 1987 with high-profile articles in The New York Times and The Des Moines Register. Biden was accused of plagiarizing a speech by Neil Kinnock, leader of the British Labour Party. Kinnock's speech, delivered to a Welsh Labour Party conference on May 15, 1987, and then rebroadcast during the UK 1987 general election, included the lines:
Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? [Then pointing to his wife in the audience] Why is Glenys the first woman in her family in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because all our predecessors were thick?
While Biden's speech included the lines:
I started thinking as I was coming over here, why is it that Joe Biden is the first in his family ever to go to a university? [Then pointing to his wife in the audience] Why is it that my wife who is sitting out there in the audience is the first in her family to ever go to college? Is it because our fathers and mothers were not bright? Is it because I'm the first Biden in a thousand generations to get a college and a graduate degree that I was smarter than the rest?
Biden went on to duplicate other parts of Kinnock's speech, such as their forebears' ability to read and write poetry, their strength in working for hours underground in a mine only to come up and play football afterward, and their being limited by lack of a "platform" upon which to stand.
Biden had in fact cited Kinnock as the source for the formulation on previous occasions. But he made no reference to the original source at the August 23 Democratic debate at the Iowa State Fair being reported on, nor in an August 26 interview for the National Education Association. Moreover, while political speeches often appropriate ideas and language from each other, Biden's use came under more scrutiny because he fabricated aspects of his own family's background in order to match Kinnock's.
Following the Kinnock attention, reports came from the San Jose Mercury News of Biden giving a February 3, 1987, speech to the California Democratic Party that reused without credit passages from a 1967 speech by Robert F. Kennedy, and of Biden giving 1985 and 1986 speeches that did the same with a passage from a 1976 speech by Hubert H. Humphrey. In the Kennedy case – which got the greater attention, since there was film footage of both versions that television news programs could play side-by-side – Pat Caddell stated that the reuse without credit was his own fault, and that he had never informed Biden of the source of the material. It was also reported that the California speech had taken a short phrase from the 1961 inaugural address of John F. Kennedy.
After Biden withdrew from the race, it was learned that he had indeed correctly credited Kinnock on other occasions. But in the Iowa speech that was recorded and distributed to reporters (with a parallel video of Kinnock) by aides to Michael Dukakis, the eventual nominee, he failed to do so. Dukakis, who disowned any knowledge of the Kinnock video, fired John Sasso, his campaign manager and long-time Chief of Staff, but Biden's campaign could not recover.