United States Congress.On August 11, US Senator and 2008 presidential republican candidate John McCain gave a speech regarding the crisis between Georgia and Russia. Following the speech, a regular Wikipedia editor noticed that his speech was very similar to an article on Wikipedia also regarding the crisis, in what could be considered plagiarism. Wikinews was able to talk to that editor about how he found out about the similarities and what he did in response. Wikinews also took a deeper look at the claim and investigated further.

McCain gave his speech in Erie, Pennsylvania and was speaking to citizens, giving a warning to Russia stating, “Russian President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin must understand the severe, long-term negative consequences that their government’s actions will have for Russia’s relationship with the U.S. and Europe.”

McCain continued his speech saying, “Georgia is an ancient country, at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and one of the world’s first nations to adopt Christianity as an official religion. After a brief period of independence following the Russian revolution, the Red Army forced Georgia to join the Soviet Union in 1922. As the Soviet Union crumbled at the end of the Cold War, Georgia regained its independence in 1991, but its early years were marked by instability, corruption, and economic crises.”

While reading the first few paragraphs, the Wikipedia editor Killing Vector, who wishes to be called by his contributor name in fear of retribution for coming forward with the claim, noticed a striking similarity to McCain’s speech and the Wikipedia article on the country of Georgia. Not only did he notice the similarities, but after reading through the article’s edit history, ‘Killing Vector’ noticed that his speech might have been lifted from Wikipedia, with some of the material in McCain’s speech dating prior to the start of the Georgian and Russian crisis.

“I began reading the text of McCain’s address on the Georgia crisis, and as I was browsing it the irregularity jumped out almost immediately. The paragraphs which discussed the history of Georgia simply didn’t fit with the rest of the speech; the rhetorical style was jarringly different. I figured, “where’s someone in a hurry going to get basic information on the Republic of Georgia?” I opened up Wikipedia, went to the article, picked a recent but not current revision more or less at random (July 24th), and hit gold on the first try; McCain’s speech and the Wikipedia article had significant strings of words in common, emphasized the same events, made largely the same word choices,” said Vector to Wikinews.

Although other media outlets reported the alleged plagiarism, the two passages below were dated at least one week prior to the Georgian and Russian crisis. The first two paragraphs of McCain’s speech appear to resemble the Wikipedia article in the history dated July 24, 2008.

“Two paragraphs, about an eighth of the full speech, contain material directly copied from Wikipedia or superficially modified from its text. Those two paragraphs constitute the entire factual background of the speech, though — the rest is reaction and proposed policy,” added Vector.

Example:

  • Wikipedia – ….one of the first countries in the world to adopt Christianity as an official religion.
  • McCain – ….one of the world’s first nations to adopt Christianity as an official religion.
  • Wikipedia – After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia had a brief period of independence as a Democratic Republic (1918-1921), which was terminated by the Red Army invasion of Georgia. Georgia became part of the Soviet Union in 1922 and regained its independence in 1991. Early post-Soviet years was marked by a civil unrest and economic crisis.
  • McCain – After a brief period of independence following the Russian revolution, the Red Army forced Georgia to join the Soviet Union in 1922. As the Soviet Union crumbled at the end of the Cold War, Georgia regained its independence in 1991, but its early years were marked by instability, corruption, and economic crises.
Wikinews investigates claim McCain plagiarized speech from Wikipedia
We did not copy Wikipedia in Sen. McCain’s remarks. There are only so many ways to state basic historical facts and dates and that any similarities to Wikipedia were only coincidental.
Wikinews investigates claim McCain plagiarized speech from Wikipedia

—Brian Rogers, McCain campaign spokesman

McCain’s campaign denies they plagiarized Wikipedia, but also didn’t state whether they used it as a source for his speech.

“We did not copy Wikipedia in Sen. McCain’s remarks. There are only so many ways to state basic historical facts and dates and that any similarities to Wikipedia were only coincidental,” said a spokesman for the McCain campaign, Brian Rogers to The Politico. Wikinews contacted McCain’s campaign, but has yet to receive a response.

Wikinews e-mailed Jay Walsh, the director of communications for the Wikimedia Foundation to see what they thought of the situation, and what if anything they planned to do about it.

“We aren’t particularly concerned with this,” said Walsh who also added that “I’m only aware of this situation through media coverage I’ve seen, nor do we or I have any in-depth detail about the situation.”

“I would say it’s a good practice to attribute text or content whenever possible. Obviously when it’s a matter of copyright then there are legal considerations, but the Foundation is not able to examine individual cases,” added Walsh. Wikinews attempted to contact Mike Godwin, the legal counsel for the Foundation, but has yet to receive a response.

Vector stands by his claim and also notes what he calls ‘dishonesty’ on the part of McCain’s campaign.

“What concerns me more, as a voter, is the ethical issue. Plagiarism comes from dishonesty and intellectual laziness on the part of an individual, but McCain’s campaign’s later denial adopts that individual’s dishonesty,” stated Vector.

source : wikinews

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US Congress.

United States (U.S.) Senator Joe Lieberman is scheduled to speak at the Republican party convention, according to a member of the McCain campaign who wishes to remain anonymous. Lieberman, who was the Democratic vice presidential candidate in the 2000 presidential election, has been one of Republican party candidate, John McCain‘s, staunchest supporters.

The official who informed the press of this announcement stated that Lieberman is slated to speak on the second day, a Monday, of the convention. There has been a lot of speculation in the past months that Lieberman would speak at the convention. In a interview with David Brody of CBN, Lieberman stated in response to the question about the possibility of him being at the convention that, “well, it’s not clear yet but you might just see me there.”

Lieberman is currently in Georgia, with Senator Lindsey Graham, responded when asked if he would be speaking at the convention that “it’s quite possible, but I’ll let them announce it.” Lieberman’s office has not commented on this announcement.

Lieberman has been recently considered a possible candidate for the Republican vice presidential seat. The convention will be held in St. Paul, Minnesota from September 1 through the 4th. He is currently a Independent Senator in Connecticut, who caucuses with the Democratic party. Lieberman was the Democratic vice presidential candidate back in 2000, when he ran with Al Gore.

Source : wikinews

Pastor Rick Warren

United States Presidential candidates Senators Barack Obama and John McCain each participated in a live forum broadcast from Saddleback Church in Lake Forest. The forum, moderated by pastor Rick Warren, was scheduled to showcase the candidates to an evangelical segment of the population, who account for 26.3% of the American public.

During the forum the candidates were each individually asked a series of identical questions by the pastor, with Senator Barack Obama going first and Senator John McCain taking his turn after being held in a soundproof room as Obama was interviewed. On some questions the candidates differed in their interpretations.

When asked whom they believed were the three wisest people to rely on as president, Obama answered that his wife and grandmother were at the top of his list along with a mix of Republican and Democratic Senators. McCain comprised his list of a range of people: the architect of the troop surge in Iraq, General David Petraeus; Democratic Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis; and the former CEO of eBay, Meg Whitman.

In response to being questioned about their toughest decisions in life, Obama answered that deciding to oppose the Iraq War in 2002 was his toughest, while McCain cited his refusal to leave his men behind in a POW camp in Vietnam when given the chance.

On some philosophical questions the candidates differed in their moral stances. When asked when they believed individuals should be given human rights, Obama responded that the question was “above [his] pay grade” while McCain decisively replied that he believed it should occur “at the moment of conception.” On the concept of evil, Obama related it to the situation in Darfur and on America’s streets. McCain related it to radical Islamic extremism relaying that he believed evil should be “defeated.” He then promised that as president he would hunt Osama bin Laden to the “gates of hell.”

On a few questions the candidates had similar responses. They both answered that the biggest moral dilemmas in their lives were personal mistakes they had made when they were younger. For Obama, it was his drug use, for McCain it was his failed first marriage.

Both candidates were on the stage together briefly between the interviews and shook hands and hugged in a moment symbolic of Warren’s call for civility at the beginning and end of the forum.

Source : wikinews

United States Senate.

The latest advertisement for United States Republican presidential candidate John McCain is questioning Democrat Barack Obama‘s benefit to families.

Last week the BBC reported that the McCain campaign had released an advertisement comparing Obama to American celebrities Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, calling him “the biggest celebrity in the world.”

McCain’s newest advertisement, released early this week, continues along those same lines.

United States Senate.

“Is the biggest celebrity in the world ready to help your family?” the narrator asks, according to The Boston Globe and a video of the ad displayed on its website. “The real Obama promises higher taxes, more government spending. So, fewer jobs.” With images of wind turbines in the background, the narrator says, “Renewable energy to transform our economy, create jobs and energy independence, that’s John McCain.”

The Boston Globe reports that McCain’s latest ad does not acknowledge that Obama’s economic policy, especially the proposed rollback of current president George W. Bush‘s capital gains tax cuts, would largely affect the wealthiest of America, not the middle class.

Obama, the BBC reports, is quoted as calling McCain “cynical,” “desperate” and “in the pocket of Big Oil.”

The latest Obama video, shown on the USA Today website, touts McCain as “just more of the same” politics employed by George W. Bush. The ad cites a May 22, 2003 Fox News Channel interview where McCain says “the President and I agree on most issues. There was a recent study that showed I voted with the President over 90 percent of the time.” The ad then criticizes McCain’s policies on tax cuts, money for oil companies, and “tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.”

USA Today does note that “[w]hile the ad shows McCain touting the fact that he had voted “with” President Bush more than 90% of the time, the Arizona senator did criticize the administration’s conduct of the war in Iraq — calling early on for more troops to be sent there. He also voted against the president’s original tax cut plan — though McCain now says he supports extending those tax cuts. And, he proposes cuts in all kinds of corporate taxes, not just those on oil companies.”

McCain is set to appear at an Ohio furniture plant Wednesday to reinforce the messages in his latest advertisement.

“America has the second highest business tax rate in the entire world,” he plans to say, according to prepared remarks issued by his campaign, and released by The Boston Globe. “Is it any wonder that jobs are moving overseas when we are taxing them out of the country? Unfortunately Senator Obama’s plans would raise taxes on businesses even more. He has promised tax increases on income, tax increases on investment, tax increases on small businesses. This is exactly the wrong strategy. Raising taxes in a bad economy is about the worst thing you could do because it will kill even more jobs when what we need are policies that create jobs.”

Obama spokesman Bill Burton responded:

“Is the biggest proponent of George Bush’s tired, failed policies ready to bring about change? Another day brings another dishonest attack from John McCain. While Senator McCain knows that Senator Obama has proposed cutting taxes for 95% of American families, what he’s not telling us is that he wants to give $4 billion in tax breaks to the oil companies, continue giving tax breaks to corporations that ship our job overseas, and provide no direct tax relief for more than 100 million middle-class families. It’s time to retire these old policies and bring new energy to America.”

Source : wikinews

pinguino k.

American celebutante and businesswoman Paris Hilton has bashed a recent presidential campaign ad by 2008 U.S. presidential hopeful John McCain in which he compared his rival Barack Obama to celebrities such as Hilton and Britney Spears. In McCain’s TV ad, it was stated that Obama was “the biggest celebrity in the world.”

Hilton recorded and uploaded a video to comedy website Funny or Die, in which she mocked McCain by calling him a “wrinkly white-haired guy.”

“Hey America. I am Paris Hilton, and I am a celebrity too,” she states at the beginning of the video, but not before images of the Star Wars character Yoda and the cast of The Golden Girls are paraded across the screen apparently comparing the characters to McCain.

United States Senate.

“Only I am not from the olden days, and I am not promising change like ‘that other guy’. I’m just hot,” remarked Hilton, adding, “I guess I am running for president,” since McCain’s TV ad showed her.

McCain’s advertisement, released early this week, states, “Is the biggest celebrity in the world ready to help your family?” According to the Boston Globe and video displayed on its website, the narrator then points out that “the real Obama promises higher taxes, more government spending. So, fewer jobs.”

Bill Burton, a spokesman for Obama, responded to the ad: “Is the biggest proponent of George Bush’s tired, failed policies ready to bring about change? Another day brings another dishonest attack from John McCain. While Senator McCain knows that Senator Obama has proposed cutting taxes for 95% of American families, what he’s not telling us is that he wants to give $4 billion in tax breaks to the oil companies, continue giving tax breaks to corporations that ship our job overseas, and provide no direct tax relief for more than 100 million middle-class families.”

Hilton appears in good spirits in her video and even thanks McCain for endorsing her. “So thanks for the endorsement white-haired dude. And I want America to know, that I am like totally ready to lead.”

Source : wikinews

United States Senate.

John McCainUnited States Senate.
Image: United States Senate.

Barack Obama
Image: United States Senate.

The two leading United States presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain are statistically tied according to the latest Day to Day Politics Poll Average. Both the 7-day average and the 10-day average show that the difference between the two candidates is within the margin of error. Barack Obama is polling at 45.8% and John McCain is at 45.1%.

The lead for Obama has dropped by 4% in the last week, two weeks after his trip to Europe. There is about 4 weeks until the Democratic and Republican Conventions and about 9% of the public is still undecided, which is a 2% drop since last week.

The Day to Day Politics Poll Average for the past week used the Gallup Tracking poll, the Rasmussen Tracking poll, the CNN poll, and the USA Today/Gallup poll.

The battleground states of Florida and Ohio, are also showing no statistically significant lead for either of the two candidates. However, Pennsylvania shows a statistically significant lead for Obama. These three states have been key battleground states in the past two elections with the winner of two of these three states winning the White House.

Also, according to a new national poll, white workers give Obama the edge by 10 percent (47% for Obama, 37% for McCain), even though 1/6th of this voting group is undecided. Both parties agree that this group of voters will be a key voting bloc for victory. With 92 days left until the General Election, both parties will be campaigning heavily in the three major battleground states mentioned above and among this particular voting group.

Source : wikinews

Obama and U.S. Gen. David Petraeus

It seems like just about everybody has spent the last week beating up on the media for showering too much love on Barack Obama, during what John McCain’s camp derides as the Obama World Tour.

True, statistics show broadcast networks have devoted more than twice as much airtime in recent weeks to the Democrat than to the Republican.

Source : http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-onthemedia24-2008jul24,0,2428475.story