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"I stole someone else's material." is way too blunt. You told a story about someone else's story and you paraphrased a piece of it.

Stealing is "My Uncle Charlie Once Met Clinton"

You just stood on someone else's shoulders to tell your story.

Exiled in NJ

"His plagiarism was only limited by his faulty technique." I recall that line from a PDQ Bach album, and have loved it ever since.

Red Tory

Well, as Picasso once famously said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” That of course isn’t meant to be taken literally, but I thought I’d get the jump on anyone else citing that quote. ;-)

As for not wishing the anecdote to devolve into a comparison between Bush and Clinton, unfortunately, it’s difficult, if not almost impossible, to avoid. While that may not have been your original intent when relating the story, I see no reason for your unease, or for that matter, the need to distance yourself from the stark contrasts between different presidents that people will inevitably make as a result of it.


"I'm not sure I believe that Clinton just happened to know what towns Charlie's army unit captured in World War II."

Why not? I did. If someone had told me "this old guy was in Normandy with the US Ninth Division" I would have known a)that they went ashore on Utah Beach b) not on D-Day but shortly thereafter and c) some of the towns they probably took. And I'm neither a historian nor an American, nor as bright as Clinton.

The alternative is that he knew in advance that Charlie would be there, checked his service background, and then went away and studied up on the war history of the Ninth Division, solely in order to be able to talk, apparently spontaneously, for a quarter of an hour to someone he would never meet again. And I think that speaks even better of him than if he just happened to know.

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