I gave Matt Angle, Lone Star Project director, and the Carol Kent campaign the opportunity to respond. No word yet from the Kent camp, but Angle took me up on the offer. What did he say? Let’s jump.
Angle gave a breakdown of each of the Carter campaign’s points made in the response, including the one that trial lawyers and the Kent campaign are behind the report.
1. Carter Consultant: “A look at the entire Carter speech and the six-year-old Obama speech rather than just snippets shows that not only is it entirely different, but that the point Stefani Carter was making was entirely different.”
LSP Response: Stefani clearly lifted lines from Obama’s 2004 Democratic Convention speech.Â Both speeches were an effort to introduce the speaker to the audience, provide some background about themselves and make an effort to inspire.Â The difference is that the Obama’s speech was entirely original, while Stefani used several of Obama’s lines — sometimes word-for-word and sometimes paraphrasing — in order to convey an Obama-like tone and style.Â You don’t have to copy an entire speech or even cover the same subject matter to be guilty of plagiarism — it is improper to steal even one line to set the tone.Â What’s more, Carter was speaking to a local community group of a couple dozen people.Â Rather than simply talk to them in a straight-forward fashion, she hid behind a formal, unoriginal speech.Â She displayed disrespect for her audience, a clear lack of confidence and a lack of integrity.Â If you would like a copy of the full speech I can provide one to you.Â The file is very large (around 150MB) making it difficult to post online or email.
2. Carter Consultant: “The fact that Kent and this trial lawyers front group are attacking Carter so early and on such a reach is just the first indication of how far behind they think they are in this Republican District.”
LSP Response: This is a typical Republican political consultant tactic of stringing a series of words together and including buzz words like “trial lawyer” and “Republican District.”Â I can’t speak for Representative Kent.Â I have not talked with her or anyone on her campaign about this matter.Â The Lone Star Project has no formal or informal affiliation with trial lawyers.Â I founded the Lone Star Project in early 2005.Â It is supported by a wide range of individuals and like-minded political organizations.Â As for the timing, we issued our report a few weeks after receiving the video of Stefani Carter ripping off some of Obama’s lines.Â We had been notified by a few people in Dallas that Stefani was regularly cribbing off of Obama when speaking publicly.Â We did a little more research and discovered that Carter also had padded her personal resume by dishonestly exaggerating that she had been formally affiliated withÂ USA Today and that she was a Heritage Foundation Fellow.Â District 102, by any fair measure, is a swing district.Â Carol Kent was able to win in 2008 by appealing to centrist voters who make their decision based on the quality of the candidate, not on party identification.Â Carol Kent will likely win in 2010 by appealing to the same type of fair-minded voters.
3. Carter Consultant: “The Democrats are running so far from Obama that they believe their only chance is to link the Republican candidates to him.Â That is not a good sign for Democrats.”
LSP Response: It is not important that Stefani Carter stole her lines from Obama.Â What is important is that she is insecure and dishonest to the point of stealing lines.Â We would have criticized her just as strongly had she lifted lines in the same way from Sarah Palin, George W. Bush or anyone else.Â By plagiarizing and padding her resume, Stefani Carter has displayed a lack of integrity.Â It really doesn’t have anything to do with Obama or Democrats in general.Â The fact that Stefani Carter stole her lines from Obama is a reflection of her own bad judgment and lack of honesty and not much else.
4. Carter Consultant: “Carol Kent, who has a 28% rating on fiscal responsibility, has spent the last two years plagiarizing the Obama platform and she is now coming to a realization that was a bad idea.”
LSP Response: My guess is that the 28 percent rating is some ridiculous score pulled together by a right-wing ideological group.Â The fact that the consultant failed to cite the source or detail the particular votes is telling.Â Carol Kent has a reputation as a centrist problem solver, earned from both her service as a nonpartisan school board member and as a responsible Legislator.Â Carter’s paid consultant was just finding an excuse to randomly throw Carol Kent’s name in a sentence with Obama.
So there you go.