(Editor's Note: As the usual public service after the Democratic presidential candidate debates, this blog is providing video highlights of the salient moments. The debate was co-sponsored by Univision and CNN. This debate was held at the University of Texas in Austin.)
by Rick Rockwell
Although most of this debate was a repetition of past exchanges, stump speeches and policy notes, the candidates did get into more detail on issues key to Texas voters such as immigration and bilingualism. The sharpest exchange of the night also centered on the charges that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) plagiarized parts of a speech he gave in Milwaukee during the campaign leading up to the Wisconsin Primary.
Anchor Jorge Ramos of Univision led off with a question about whether the candidates would reach out to Raul Castro, after his brother Fidel stepped down as president of Cuba.
The candidates also discussed immigration policy, relations with Mexico, and the construction of fences along the border.
The only heated moments of the debate centered around the charges of plagiarism leveled against Obama.
Although Obama calls the plagiarism charges "silly" now, when he was first confronted with them by the media this week, he had different answers. At first, Obama said perhaps he should have cited Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA) as the source of part of his speeches, but simply forgot to do it. By the time of the debate, the Illinois Senator had a smoother response. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) put the issue of plagiarism on the table to highlight Obama's inexperience and question his character. The video comparison of Patrick's speech and Obama's speech is below.
Although Obama downplays the plagiarism issue now and Patrick says he gave Obama permission to use his speech, plagiarism charges were enough to knock Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) out of the presidential race the first time he ran in 1988. Politicians, students, and others have lost their positions, degrees and reputations over plagiarism in the past, although it doesn't seem to have much traction so far in this campaign.
For more background on the 2008 campaign, please see these archival posts:
- "New Hampshire: Barack Obama's Latest Hope;"
- "The Hillary Clinton Potomac Primary Climate Check;"
- "John Edwards Says Goodbye to the Campaign Trail, For Now;"
- "Wolf Blitzer: Is Human Rights More Important than American National Security?"
- "John McCain and the Republican Right;" and
- "Mike Huckabee, Texas Ranger."
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