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Maryland delegates dismiss plagiarism claims in Melania Trump's address

Allegations that the Trump campaign plagiarized portions of Melania Trump's prime time address on Monday continued to dominate discussion on cable news Tuesday,

CLEVELAND — Allegations that the Trump campaign plagiarized portions of Melania Trump's prime time address on Monday continued to dominate discussion on cable news Tuesday, but convention delegates were ready to dismiss the imbroglio as old news.

"What is it -- a 1,600-word speech and two sentences were close to another speech?" said Maryland Senate Minority Leader J. B. Jennings of Baltimore County, an at-large delegate for Trump. "To me it's no big deal."

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That was the response most Maryland delegates to the Republican National Convention offered Tuesday morning as they gathered for a daily breakfast meeting.

Larry Helminiak, a longtime GOP official and the 2nd vice chair of the state party, argued that unlike the allegations of plagiarism that tanked then-Sen. Joe Biden presidential campaign in 1987, that the speech writers in this case are to blame -- not the speaker.

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"I think Biden did it himself," Helminiak said. "There's no way that this lady wrote her speech -- it's a speech writer."

Trump's campaign manager, speaking to CNN on Tuesday, denied allegations that Melania Trump lifted portions of a Michelle Obama speech, calling the allegation "absurd."

"To think that she would do something like that knowing how scrutinized her speech was going to be last night is just really absurd," Paul Manafort told CNN.

The address echoed an address Obama gave in 2008. In one passage Trump said her parents had "impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, that you do what you say."

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Obama's speech including the following: "Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: like, you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond; that you do what you say you're going to do."

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