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Did Pete Buttigieg seriously just rip off a famous Obama speech?

'Plagiarism Pete.'


Eilish O'Sullivan


Posted on Feb 23, 2020   Updated on Jan 27, 2021, 11:36 am CST

Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is being accused of plagiarizing an iconic campaign speech given by former President Barack Obama.

“If we can light up a high school gym—we can light a neighborhood. If we can light up a neighborhood—we can light a city. If we can light up a city—we can light up our country,” Buttigieg tweeted on Saturday.

The tweet was part of the Democratic presidential candidate’s thread, in which he tried to gain momentum and donations ahead of Super Tuesday on March 3. With 60% of the precincts reporting, Buttigieg came in third in the Nevada caucuses with 15.3% of the vote, just behind Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden, who received 46% and 19.6% of the vote, respectively.

Obama’s speech originated in 2008 during his first presidential campaign.

“One voice can change the room. And if the voice can change a room, it can change a city. And if it can change a city, it can change a state. And if it can change a state, it can change a nation. And if it can change the nation, it can change the world,” Obama would say at the time while on the campaign trail. “Are you fired up? Ready to go! Fired up, ready to go.”

The “fired up, ready to go” chant became a rallying cry among his supporters.

And the apparent plagiarism didn’t go unnoticed.

“Pete has been trying out adopting Obama’s style of speaking for a bit now, so clearly plagiarism was just the obvious next step,” Twitter user @lsln__ pointed out.

Many replied with links to Obama’s speech.

“Strange, I feel like I’ve heard this somewhere before,” Twitter user @TheStagmania wrote.

Another user memed the tweet, posting a side-by-side of Buttigieg with headphones on and an “Obama Voice” edition of Rosetta Stone.

Buttigieg’s tweet mixes up the saying a bit by exchanging “change” for “light up”–and some thought it was an odd choice of words.

“Lighting up a high school gym sounds pretty bad,” Twitter user @sleepylaroux wrote.

The Daily Dot has reached out to the Buttigieg campaign.


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*First Published: Feb 23, 2020, 2:50 pm CST