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19 November 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:06am

The top ten (alleged) political plagiarists

Sound familiar?

By Rob Higson

This week, we learned that the Texan humorist and all-round naughty boy George W Bush stands accused of “borrowing” from a number of books in his recently published memoirs, from Bob Woodward to General Tommy Franks and others.

In honour of Dubbya’s escapades, here is our pick of the top ten political plagiarists:


1. November 2010: George W Bush

The former president George W Bush is accused of plagiarising from Ahmed Rashid, Bob Woodward and others in his memoir, Decision Points.

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2. September 2010: Tony Blair

The former prime minister laughs off suggestions that he plagiarised his autobiographical account of his first meeting with Queen Elizabeth from the Oscar-winning film The Queen.

3. June 2009: Sarah Palin

The Alaskan governor denies lifting passages of a speech from an article written by Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, four years earlier.

4. March 2009: Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP for North East Somerset and son of William Rees-Mogg, former editor of the Times, issues an apology after sections of an article from the Sun appeared under his name in a newsletter to potential constituents.

5. February 2008: Barack Obama

Hilary Clinton’s campaign team accuses Obama of plagiarism after he used a passage from a speech by his friend Deval Patrick, governor of Massachusetts, without attribution. Clinton says to Obama: “If your candidacy is going to be about words, then they should be your own words.”

6. March 2006: Vladimir Putin

The Russian strong-arm’s academic credentials come under question after reports that he had plagiarised his PhD thesis from a Russian translation of a study written by two professors at the University of Pittsburgh in 1978.

7. June 2003: Labour Government

The then foreign secretary, Jack Straw, apologises to the student whose thesis was used as the basis of the “dodgy dossier” on Iraq. He calls the affair “a complete Horlicks”.

8. October 1991: Martin Luther King

A committee of Boston University scholars conclude that King’s doctoral dissertation, completed there decades earlier, contained substantial “misappropriation” of others’ writings.

9. September 1987: Joe Biden

Vice-President Joe Biden, then a 44-year Delawarean senator, plagiarises a Neil Kinnock speech during his first presidential campaign. His campaign is shaken further when it is revealed that he also plagiarised an article he wrote in his first year at law school.

10. February 1950: Joseph McCarthy

The Wisconsin senator and famed anti-communist Joe McCarthy borrows from a speech by Representative Richard Nixon of California.

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