Lefty heart-ache: McCain might have lifted three sentences from Wikipedia for speech

Three background sentences, that is, one of which closely tracks Wikipedia’s entry on Georgia, two more of which contain some phrases in common, plus a third passage that’s being offered as evidence of plagiarism and … just isn’t.

On a day when Russia’s threatening to absorb one of its satellite states, this is actually the top story on Memeorandum. Yes, really.

In 2003, Shevardnadze (who won reelection in 2000) was deposed by the Rose Revolution, after Georgian opposition and international monitors asserted that the 2 November parliamentary elections were marred by fraud. The revolution was led by Mikheil Saakashvili, Zurab Zhvania and Nino Burjanadze, former members and leaders of Shavarnadze’s ruling party. Mikheil Saakashvili was elected as President of Georgia in 2004. Following the Rose Revolution, a series of reforms was launched to strengthen the country’s military and economic capabilities. (Wikipedia)

vs.

Following fraudulent parliamentary elections in 2003, a peaceful, democratic revolution took place, led by the U.S.-educated lawyer Mikheil Saakashvili. The Rose Revolution changed things dramatically and, following his election, President Saakashvili embarked on a series of wide-ranging and successful reforms.(McCain)

As Bill Beutler notes, McCain’s version actually adds the detail about Saakashvili having been educated in America; beyond that, the “plagiarism” appears to hang on the uncanny, one-in-a-million similarity of the phrase “series of … reforms.” I was going to offer a little glass-half-full spin on behalf of Team Maverick but one of TPM’s commenters already made my point and I wouldn’t want to “plagiarize.” Your exit question, then: Never mind lifting text. Is McCain’s camp actually getting its facts from Wikipedia?