April 21, 2004


Latham plagiarised Clinton, says PM (Steve Lewis and wires, April 22, 2004, news.com.au)

JOHN Howard last night accused Mark Latham of stealing former US president Bill Clinton's ideas and language, calling on the Labor Leader to apologise to the Australian people.

The Prime Minister's call came after it was revealed the Opposition Leader's speech this week on the Australian character mirrored Mr Clinton's 1997 State of the Union address.

In the most direct attack yet by Mr Howard on Mr Latham's political honesty, The Prime Minister said: "Mark Latham owes the Australian people a proper explanation for appearing to have stolen not only the ideas but also the words of another politician".

Channel 9 earlier broadcast a comparison of the Clinton speech and the one Mr Latham gave to a business audience in Sydney on Tuesday, highlighting the similar language adopted by the two leaders in extolling the virtue of lifelong learning. There were subtle changes, however.

While Mr Latham insisted every 10-year-old must be able to log on to the internet, Mr Clinton suggested that 12-year-olds should be net-savvy, and Mr Latham pinpointed that as a key difference today.

How hard up could this guy be that he'd steal from a Clinton speech? The former President gave not a single memorable speech in his whole career.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 21, 2004 8:19 PM

That may be why he thought he could steal the speech and no one would notice. You wouldn't steal the Mona Lisa, display it as your own, and hope to get away with it.

Posted by: pj at April 21, 2004 10:06 PM

Now, don't forget his nomination speech at the 1988 Democratic convention. It was a portent of State of the Unions to come.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 21, 2004 10:24 PM

Clinton's 1988 DNC speech was so bad that the crowd gave him a Karkack the Magnificent-like cheer when he finally reached the words "and in conclusion," which also earned him a spot on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to explain why he went into a three-hour ramble.

(Of course, once elected president, his long-winded style morphed from an item of derision to a subject of praise among party faithful, none more so than SOTU II, when he riffed for about 20 minutes when the teleprompter broke. If Americans didn't have so many TV channel alternatives, Clinton probably would have given Castro a run for his money for the Guiness record for longest speech by a national leader...)

Posted by: John at April 21, 2004 10:53 PM