Congressman plagiarizes Chapman’s speech

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2005

The old saying, &uot;Imitation is the highest form of flattery,&uot; came home to roost last week for Alabama State Auditor Beth Chapman.

And since that time, Chapman, a North Shelby resident, has been in newspapers across the country including the Washington Post as well as on radio programs in Nevada and on TV programs including Fox News’ Hannity and Combs.

A copyrighted speech written and presented by Chapman in Pelham two years ago was largely plagiarized by U.S. Rep. Jim Gibbons, a Nevada Republican.

Gibbons has called Chapman and apologized, she said.

&uot;He was very nice and very apologetic,&uot; she said.

Gibbons, a two-term Congressman, spoke at a dinner in Elko, Nev., a couple of weeks ago. The speech he gave, it turned out, included verbatim portions of the speech Chapman made at a Stand Up for America rally in Pelham in 2003.

Gibbons said he did not remember where he got the speech.

&uot;I had no idea it was copyrighted,&uot; he told Elko media.

The speech Chapman gave was 21 paragraphs long. Gibbons used, word-for-word, 15 of those paragraphs.

&uot;It was just some wording that was sent to me,&uot; Gibbons said. &uot;It reflected my thoughts.&uot;

Chapman said: &uot;While no one enjoys someone using your words, it is flattering.

&uot;The speech was given in Pelham two years ago and it’s been around the world several times. The response was so great that I wrote a book about it,&uot; she said.

&uot;If he used my words to motivate people to support our troops and our country, I think good came from it,&uot; Chapman said.

She said the Nevada press began calling her after Gibbons gave the speech. According to the Nevada media, Gibbons may make a run at governor of that state.

&uot;After two years, it certainly shows the quality of the positive, patriotic feelings (the speech) provoked in people,&uot; she said.

Chapman’s speech was initially written shortly before the outbreak of the war in Iraq when the Alabama National Guard was expecting mobilization.

After her presentation in Pelham, the speech traveled the world over the Internet and Chapman received thousands of responses.

The book about the speech and the response it generated is called &uot;The Power of Patriotism: The Speech Heard Around the World.&uot;

It is available from her website,

The entire text of the speech, whichhas also been read into the Congressional Record, is also available on the website