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Melania Trump's convention speech similar to Michelle Obama's, critics say

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Mrs. Trump's speech at the RNC drew attention over similiarities to a speech by Michelle Obama. (WPVI)

Melania Trump's star turn at the Republican National Convention Monday night captivated a GOP crowd that had rarely heard from her through months of her husband's tumultuous 2016 White House campaign.

Her speech also drew attention after the discovery that two passages of her remarks matched nearly word-for-word the speech that first lady Michelle Obama delivered in 2008 at the Democratic National Convention. The passages in question focused on lessons that Trump's wife says she learned from her parents and the relevance of their lessons in her experience as a mother.

WATCH: Michelle Obama's 2008 DNC speech and Melania Trump's 2016 RNC speech
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Her speech also drew attention after the discovery that two passages of her remarks matched nearly word-for-word the speech that first lady Michelle Obama delivered in 2008.



The passages came near the beginning of her roughly 10-minute speech. Mrs. Trump's address was otherwise distinct from the address that Mrs. Obama gave when then-Sen. Barack Obama was being nominated for president.

In Mrs. Trump's speech in Cleveland, she said: "From a young age, 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, that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily life."

In Mrs. Obama's 2008 speech in Denver, she said: "And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: like, you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, that you do what you say you're going to do, that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them and even if you don't agree with them."

Another passage with notable similarities that follows two sentences later in Mrs. Trump's speech addresses her attempts to instill those values in her son.

"We need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow," Mrs. Trump said. "Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."

In the first lady's 2008 speech, she said, "Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values and to pass them onto the next generation, because we want our children - and all children in this nation - to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them."

Trump's campaign responded in a statement that said her "immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech." The statement didn't mention Mrs. Obama.

"In writing her beautiful speech, Melania's team of writers took notes on her life's inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking," Trump spokesman Jason Miller said.

Delegates from Pennsylvania and New Jersey left the convention energized on Monday night, only to wake up to allegations of plagiarism. Delegates tried to come up with some explanation for the striking similarity between the two speeches.

"It's very hard not to plagiarize sometimes because there are all words in the English language. It's phrases that we use every day and it's kind of hard," said Ken Ciparis of Middletown, N.J.

"She's not a politician. She has speech writers like everyone else does. It's a 'spouse support a husband' speech. It's not like it's going to be the difference between Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan. It's spousal speech," said Tom Rotondi of Ocean City, N.J.

They were supportive of Melania and her overall message.

"People are trying to throw shade on her. Frankly, to be honest with you, it seems pretty much boilerplate. I think she did an excellent job. She looked great up there and we're excited to have her as our next first lady," said Philadelphia GOP chairman Joseph DeFelice.

Party leaders agreed that there was more to Melania's speech last night than the words in question.

"There's a lot of values that Melania Trump has that she spoke to last night. She spoke to her passion, to helping women and children, and she got up there and she showed America who she is and why she is supporting her husband," Lindsey Walters of the Republican National Committee.

ABC Political Director Rick Klein called it an amateur mistake by the Trump campaign.

"It's an inexplicable mistake and an unforced error by a campaign. Clearly the language is so similar someone should have caught it. If it wasn't an outright plagiarism, it was just too close to risk it, and you have teams in place for that. And in this case, I think Donald Trump's staff failed Melania Trump," he said."
Related Topics:
politicspresidential racerepublicansmichelle obamau.s. & world
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