Republican candidates for Congress Vaughn Ward and Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, commented on a speech by Ward earlier this year that had language similar to Barack Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Ward and Labrador spoke with KBOI AM’s Nate Shelman Tuesday afternoon.
Ward said he didn’t write the highlighted words in the speech. “I wrote the initial draft of it, and then I had a former staffer put some final touches on it,” he told Shelman. “It’s my team, I accept it, and I make decisive action when necessary.” Ward said there were some similarities in the phrases he and Obama used, but that there are only so many ways to make a point. “I use the word change and hope all the time in some of my speech,” he said, referring to two of Obama’s presidential campaign themes in 2008. “I even make a joke of it. I mean Idaho hope and change, defined by us and our values.”
Labrador said he didn’t think Ward plagiarized Obama, but that it follows a trend in Ward’s campaign. “I don’t know that there’s anything wrong it it, but it does show a pattern,” he said. “They’re all ideas that are borrowed from someone else.”
IdahoReporter.com posted videos of the speeches Ward and Obama, following a story on an Idaho Statesman blog that quoted the speeches’ text. Lucas Baumbach, a Labrador supporter and candidate for the Idaho Senate in Boise, posted a video on YouTube editing the two speeches that was critical of Ward. Baumbach’s video was picked up by national political blogs, including Politico, Wonkette, and Vanity Fair. Watch Baumbach’s video below.