Senator Obama caught some flack recently for um, “evoking” some words used previously by Deval Patrick in a speech while successfully running for Governor of Massachusetts. In writing, that would be called “plagiarism,” but my candidate keeps working on his tan while most of the media spray him with Teflon sunblock. Mrs. Obama also had a few things to say this week and they were not well received.

Senator Clinton’s new campaign theme is that the difference between Barack Obama and her is “a choice between speeches and solutions.” I see. Anyway, wanting to learn more about my candidate, I’ve begun to read about him while on my stairway to the stars. I just finished reading a 2006 speech on the relevance of faith in our country. I urge you to read it. Here’s a highlight:

“Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

Now this is going to be difficult for some who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of what’s possible.”

I’ll be printing and reading more speeches and position papers in the days and weeks ahead. I don’t want to become a viral video the next time I’m interviewed by a big boy on TV: