BOISE — Accused recently of lifting passages from other conservative politicians' websites, Vaughn Ward, a Republican primary candidate for the 1st Congressional district seat, faces new plagiarism accusations.
Ward — endorsed by Sarah Palin at a Boise rally last Friday — is now accused of copying from a 2004 speech by President Barack Obama.
Lucas Baumbach, a conservative blogger and Republican candidate for the Idaho State Senate District 17 seat in Boise, http://imwithlucas.wordpress.com/">posted a video Monday on his blog that shows Ward recycling several phrases used by Obama in his 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention.
Ward's speech was delivered earlier this year when he launched his congressional campaign at the Capitol in Boise.
Similarities between the two speeches were also noted last Friday in a post on IdahoReporter.com.
The Ward campaign, still reeling from gaffes that include a rebuke from the Pentagon over an online ad and mailer showing him decked out in camouflage and body armor, did not immediately return a call from the Idaho Press-Tribune on Monday.
But Ward's media consultant, Mike Tracy, told POLITICO: “This is just more of the same from folks who are afraid that Vaughn's the frontrunner. … Folks are getting desperate – they're saying anything to get Vaughn to go after him. If anyone thinks he's anything like Obama, they're dead wrong.”
Ward is a leading candidate in tomorrow's Republican primary for Idaho's 1st Congressional District seat, along with state Rep. Raul Labrador of Eagle. The winner will face incumbent Democrat Walt Minnick in November.
Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2008, came to Boise to campaign on Ward's behalf last Friday. She criticized the media's coverage of other recent Ward campaign gaffes, citing a general “dishonest” treatment of conservative politicians in the “lame-stream” media.
Ward has also faced recent criticism for failing to disclose all of his family's assets last year in a form required under federal congressional rules. He later filed an amended disclosure form.
Ward and Palin both made jabs at Obama's campaign rhetoric at Friday's rally. Both hit on the “change” theme that had been a pillar of Obama's 2008 campaign.
“How many of you like that word now?” Ward asked the crowd before introducing Palin. “'Change' takes on a whole new meaning in 2010.”
Here's a look at the statements made by Obama, in 2004, and Ward, earlier this year:
Obama: “... as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices and meet the challenges that face us. America, tonight, if you feel the same energy that I do, if you feel the same urgency that I do, if you feel the same passion that I do, if you feel the same hopefulness that I do, if we do what we must do, then I have no doubt that all across the country, from Florida to Oregon, from Washington to Maine, the people will rise up in November, and John Kerry will be sworn in as president. And John Edwards will be sworn in as vice president. And this country will reclaim its promise. And out of this long political darkness a brighter day will come.
”Ward: “As we stand on the crossroads of history, I know we can make the right choices and meet the challenges that lay before us. If you feel the same urgency and the same passion that I do, and if we stand united and strong, then I have no doubt that our voices will be heard in November. Our country will reclaim its promise. A better day is on the horizon, and out of this darkness will come a stronger, more united nation. One that believes in personal responsibility, fiscal discipline, and limited government.