Culture

Internet explodes over similarities between Melania Trump's speech and Michelle Obama's

Technically Incorrect: Soon after Donald Trump's wife made her RNC speech, retweets and YouTube comparisons suggested that there might have been a touch of plagiarism.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Were the words somewhat second-hand?

Angel Castro/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It took just one person with ears sharper than an eagle's eyes.

That person was journalist Jarrett Hill.

As Melania Trump, wife of presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald, gave a speech on Monday to the Republican National Convention, Hill's ears seemed to grow to the size of those of the Republican Party mascot.

He feared he may have heard some of these words before. So he tweeted, and the world compared.

Tens of thousands of retweets later, the suggestion grew that Melania Trump or her speechwriter had lifted a chunk of a Michelle Obama speech from 2008.

Soon, YouTube mashups began to appear, suggesting there had been something of a mess-up. There's also some robust Twitter riffing at #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes.

On Tuesday morning, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort told CNN: "There's no cribbing of Michelle Obama's speech. These are common words and values that she cares about her family, things like that."

On NBC's Today Show, Trump supporter Chris Christie said it couldn't be plagiarism, "not when 93 percent of the speech is completely different."

On the other hand, Republican National Committee chairman Rance Preibus told the Washington Post that it would be "reasonable" if the the speechwriter was fired.

Melania herself, meanwhile, posted a statement from the campaign to her Twitter account. It read, in part: "In writing her beautiful speech, Melania's team of writers took notes on her life's inspirations and in some instances took fragments that reflected her own thinking."

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This isn't the first time a political speech has received accusations of plagiarism. In 1987, US Senator Joe Biden, who went on to become the vice president, was accused of lifting parts of a speech made by hapless British politician Neil Kinnock.

Judge for yourself. Here are the Melania Trump and Michelle Obama passages for your delectation. They do seem to enjoy a certain monozygotic nature.

Melania Trump:

My parents impressed on me the values: that you work hard for what you want in life. That your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise. That you treat people with respect. They taught me to show the values and morals in my daily life. That is the lesson that I continue to pass along to our son.

And we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. [Cheering] Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

And now Michelle Obama, 2008:

And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them, and even if you don't agree with them.

And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children -- and all children in this nation -- to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.

For those, though, who are truly into the internet and its memes, there was another moment from Melania Trump's speech that might move some.

She appears to have been Rickrolled by her own speechwriter, unless we believe that -- as she told NBC's Matt Lauer -- she wrote the speech "with a little help as possible."

Should you be unfamiliar with Rickrolling, this is a meme that involves the (un)subtle insertion of the great British musical artist Rick Astley into unsuspecting internet pieces.

So here's Melania Trump, speaking of her husband: "He will never, ever give up. He will never, ever let you down."

Can we ever give up the Trump phenomenon?

Updated July 19 at 7:37 a.m. PT: Added comment from Trump campaign, Chris Christie and RNC.