Hillary The Thief

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NOVEMBER 20, 2007

Hillary The Thief

One other thing about those Clinton events yesterday: The woman is not at all bashful about stealing from her rivals. Between the two events, I counted six rhetorical turns I've heard other candidates employ:

She talked about goals "I hope will bring our country together," a la Barack Obama.

In response to a question about excessive partisanship, she talked about how she's not running to be president of the states that voted for Democrats, she's running to be president of the United States. This closely resembles Obama's "I don’t want to pit red America against blue America. I want to be the President of the United States of America."

She said she didn't want to be part of the first generation of Americans that didn't leave the country better off than when they inherited it, which recalls John Edwards's line about how we don't want to be the first generation of Americans whose children do worse in life than they did.

She talked about how, if video stores can keep track of their tapes and DVDs, surely we can keep track of people here on visas, many of whom overstay them and become illegal immigrants. I've heard Edwards make the same point, except he explicitly cites Blockbuster.

She argued that our young men and women in Iraq are doing everything we ask of them; it's the Bush administration and the Iraqi government who are letting them down. Edwards has argued that our soldiers have done everything we've asked of them; it's our government that's letting them down.

Finally, she made the point that opposing comprehensive immigration reform is tantamount to supporting amnesty, because it allows the present situation to continue. I've heard John McCain make the same point. (At least I think it was him--it's possible that it was some other non-Hillary candidate.)  

Granted, some of the themes here are vague enough that you could find them in two candidates' speeches without some amazing coincidence. And, in some cases, it's possible that the other candidates have borrowed from Hillary rather than vice versa. But I've now heard most of the major candidates on the stump and I can't recall ever hearing so many familiar formulations. Chalk it up to the prerogatives of frontrunner-dom.

--Noam Scheiber

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