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1:50 PM ET, February 18, 2008


 Top Items: 
Jeff Zeleny / New York Times:
An Obama Refrain Bears Echoes of a Governor's Speeches  —  CHICAGO — Senator Barack Obama adapted one of his signature arguments — that his oratory amounts to more than inspiring words — from speeches given by Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts during his 2006 campaign.
Mike Allen / The Politico:
Clinton aide accuses Obama of plagiarism  —  Howard Wolfson, the Clinton campaign's communications director, today accused Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) of committing “plagiarism” in a speech in Milwaukee on Saturday night.  —  Wolfson made the explosive charge in an interview with Politico …
Discussion: Donklephant and TigerHawk
Timothy J. Burger / Bloomberg:
Obama Bought His Home With No Rezko ‘Discount,’ Seller Affirms  —  Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) — The couple who sold Barack Obama his Chicago home said the Illinois senator's $1.65 million bid “was the best offer” and they didn't cut their asking price because a campaign donor bought their adjacent land …
Discussion: Balloon Juice and MSNBC
Ed Morrissey / Captain's Quarters:
Is This Really Plagiarism?  No  —  The New York Times makes a big deal about some similarities between elements in Barack Obama's speech and similar constructs in speeches given earlier by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick in 2006.  While the wording appears too close for coincidence …
Discussion: The Ruckus
Mike Allen / The Politico:
Obama's rhetoric getting some friendly help?
Frank James / The Swamp:
Did Obama plagiarize? Clinton team says yes
Discussion: Political Radar
James Joyner / Outside The Beltway:   Obama ‘Steals’ from King and Jefferson
Matthew Mosk / Washington Post:
System Worries Clinton Backers  —  Supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are worried that convoluted delegate rules in Texas could water down the impact of strong support for her among Hispanic voters there, creating a new obstacle for her in the must-win presidential primary contest.
Hilzoy / The Daily Dish:
Competence  —  From the Washington Post (emphasis added, and stolen from publius): … When I read this, I dissolved in giggles after the first sentence.  It was that part about the Texas delegate selection rules “creating a new obstacle for her” that got me.  In what sense are the Texas rules a “new obstacle?”
Publius / Obsidian Wings:
They're Not a Machine  —  This article should put to rest …
Jason Zengerle / The New Republic:
That Clinton Competence
Discussion: PrairiePundit and Washington Post
USA Today:
Clinton campaign accuses Obama of ‘flip-flop’
Ed Morrissey / Captain's Quarters:
How Evangelical Leaders Blew It  —  Dan Gilgoff does a post-mortem on how the evangelical movement managed to allow John McCain to win the Republican Party nomination over two candidates more amenable to their cause.  Gilgoff focuses on their failure to back Romney, and makes it plain …
Daniel Gilgoff / USA Today:
Why the Religious Right is stuck with McCain  —  The lukewarm support for Mitt Romney left a void that evangelical preacher Mike Huckabee was only too happy to fill.  The result: A GOP nominee who strays far from the flock.  —  As co-founder of the blog Evangelicals for Mitt …
Discussion: Ross Douthat and Hot Air
Ed Morrissey / Captain's Quarters:
41 Endorses McCain  —  George H. W. Bush endorsed John McCain …
Discussion: Bloomberg and The Ruckus
William Kristol / New York Times:
Democrats Should Read Kipling  —  Browsing through a used-book store Friday — in the Milwaukee airport, of all places — I came across a 1981 paperback collection of George Orwell's essays.  That's how I happened to reread his 1942 essay on Rudyard Kipling.
David Brown / Washington Post:
USDA Orders Largest Meat Recall in U.S. History  —  The Agriculture Department has ordered the largest meat recall in its history — 143 million pounds of beef, a California meatpacker's entire production for the past two years — because the company did not prevent ailing animals from entering …
Howard Kurtz / Washington Post:
It's All Uphill From Here  —  It was 15 degrees outside on a wind-whipped Pennsylvania Avenue as Hillary Clinton, smile firmly fixed in place, made an early-morning stop for a primary she didn't have a prayer of winning.  —  Inside the high-ceilinged office of the National Council of Negro Women …
Mark Schmitt / American Prospect:
WOULD YOU MAKE A “PLEDGE” WITH THIS MAN?  —  The first great skirmish of an Obama-McCain general election has broken out over a matter of such arcane policy-wonkery that until this weekend, you would find it only here at TAPPED: the precise relationship between a loan and public financing …
Ed Morrissey / Captain's Quarters:
Obama's Corner On Public Financing
Robert D. Novak / Washington Post:
Why Torts Trumped Terrorism  —  A closed-door caucus of House Democrats last Wednesday took a risky political course.  By 4 to 1, they instructed Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call President Bush's bluff on extending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to continue eavesdropping on suspected foreign terrorists.
Michael J. Totten:
The Dungeon of Fallujah  —  “This is not Norway here, and it is not Denmark.”  - Lebanese Forces militia leader Bashir Gemayel.  —  FALLUJAH - Next to the Joint Communications Center in downtown Fallujah is a squalid and war-shattered warehouse for human beings.  Most detainees are common criminals.
Ben Smith / The Politico:
More Obama and Patrick  —  Mike Allen has more on a pretty striking borrowing, seen in the videos below.  —  Also, I'd be interested in how others hear this, but it's striking to see Obama deliver the same lines, almost verbatim, as another politician; it really gives you a sense of what's …
Discussion: The New Republic
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 More Items: 
Katharine Q. Seelye / New York Times:
Huckabee Takes a Break and Heads to the Islands
Big Tent Democrat / TalkLeft:
PPP Poll: Obama With Comfortable WI Lead
Logan Murphy / Crooks and Liars:
Bush Struggles For Relevancy As Obama Follows Him To Africa
Discussion: CNN and The Ruckus
Susan Carroll / Immigration Chronicles:
Role play an immigrant's life in video game
Daily Mail:
Life for Muslim fanatic in soldier kidnap plot who showed son …
Andrew Malcolm / Los Angeles Times:
Nearly-naked hotties for Ron Paul! Really!
You Decide 08!:
David Denby / New Yorker:
KILLING JOKE  —  The Coen brothers' twists and turns.
Discussion: The New Republic
 Earlier Items: 
Matthew Yglesias:
Kristof's Crystal Ball
Daniel Martin / Daily Mail:
A&E patients left in ambulances for up to FIVE hours 'so trusts …
Greg Jefferson /
Clinton laid groundwork in this area decades ago
Big Tent Democrat / TalkLeft:
Whatever Happened To The Politics Of Contrast?
Los Angeles Times:
Political surge in Iraq
Discussion: Captain's Quarters
Ari Kaufman / American Thinker:
America's Three Worst Presidents
Discussion: Firedoglake and First Draft
Elisabeth Bumiller / New York Times:
McCain Facing Delicate Choice: A Role for Bush