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When politicians steal the spotlight, and the words

Melania Trump
View press | Corbis | Getty Images
Melania Trump

Melania Trump stole the spotlight with her highly anticipated speech at the Republican National Convention, and many are saying she pilfered some of the words she used.

Sections of the speech were nearly word for word those of none other than Michelle Obama's address at the 2008 Democratic Convention. Donald Trump's campaign was forced to play defense Tuesday.

Top Trump adviser Paul Manafort went on CNN to respond to the claims.

"To think that she would do something like that knowing how scrutinized her speech was going to be last night is just really absurd," Manafort told CNN. "To think that she'd be cribbing Michelle Obama's words is crazy."


However, internally the allegations of plagiarism may be having a greater effect. A source within the campaign told NBC News that "heads are going to roll" for the humiliation of Melania.

Regardless of the details of how the first lady's words were used without attribution, the speech did draw strong comparisons to several other high-profile instances of alleged plagiarism in politics. Below are a few prominent examples:

Vice President Joe Biden

As a then-senator from Delaware and presidential candidate in 1987, Biden admitted to plagiarizing a law review article for a paper he wrote during law school. Biden said the episode arose because he had misunderstood the need to carefully credit sources, according to The New York Times.

Biden faced further accusations during the campaign by Times columnist Maureen Dowd, when she wrote he had used sections of a speech from U.K. Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock in a Democratic debate without crediting him.

The incidents ultimately helped doom his presidential campaign.

President Barack Obama

In 2008, then-senator from Illinois and presidential hopeful Barack Obama was accused by his rival Hillary Clinton's campaign of plagiarizing remarks made by former Deval Patrick during the latter's 2006 campaign for Massachusetts governor.

Obama said he should have credited Patrick, but dismissed the claims.

"Let's see," Obama said, according to the Times. "I've written two books. I wrote most of my speeches. I would add that I noticed Senator Clinton, on occasion, has used words of mine as well."

Former Sen. John Walsh

Allegations that Montana Sen. John Walsh had plagiarized a portion of his final paper for the Army War College, reported by The New York Times in 2014, ultimately led to the rescinding of his master's degree and the dropping of his election bid.

Ben Carson

Former presidential candidate and Dr. Ben Carson apologized in 2015 after Buzzfeed News alleged he had committed plagiarism in a book he had authored, lifting sections from other sources.

"I attempted to appropriately cite and acknowledge all sources in 'America the Beautiful,' but inadvertently missed some. I apologize, and I am working with my editors to rectify the situation," Carson told the website.

Sen. Rand Paul

The Kentucky senator and former presidential candidate was also accused of plagiarism, when Buzzfeed News reported he had copied a few pages from a case study in a book he had written. An updated printing of the book came with a new attribution to the case study.