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The Trump Campaign Swears Melania Didn't Plagiarize Michelle Obama

The two women were apparently just raised to believe in the same values, practically word-for-word.

A side-by-side comparison of Melania Trump's speech Monday and Michelle Obama's speech in 2008. Video via CNN. Thumbnail photo via Flickr user Marc Nozell

Melania Trump kicked off the Republican National Convention Monday night in Cleveland, but it wasn't her personal story of immigration or her repeated claims that her husband actually does have a softer side that captured public imagination.

Instead, the big thing that stood out was how, uh, familiar the speech sounded. A chunk of Melania's speech was almost identical to a part of Michelle Obama's address to the Democratic National Convention in Denver in 2008.


"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," Melania told the crowd.

Turns out Obama had a similar childhood! "Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life," she said eight years ago, "that your word is your bond and you do what you say you're going to do."

There were immediate accusations that Melania—or more likely her speechwriters—had committed an obvious act of plagiarism, but Trump's campaign isn't having any of that. On CNN Tuesday, Trump's campaign chairman Paul Manafort went on the offensive, saying that the idea Melania "cribbed" from Obama's speech was "absurd."

"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 Chris Cuomo Tuesday morning.

He somehow also managed to blame the entire thing on Hillary Clinton, adding that "this is once again an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, she seeks out to demean her and take her down. It's not going to work."

Read: We Visited the Sleepy Slovenian Town Where Melania Trump Grew Up