Shortly after Melania Trump finished her address Monday night to the Republican National Convention, CNN's Anderson Cooper turned to analyst David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Obama, and noted a similarity between Trump's speech and the one Michelle Obama delivered to the Democratic convention in 2008 — the prime-time slot on opening night.
"Just the same spot in 2008," Axelrod reiterated.
He went on to recall a few details about Obama's remarks: "She could speak about [Barack Obama] in a way and with an intimacy that no one else could, and she did it, I have to say — I'm biased in this regard — but I think that she did it very, very movingly because she did use more personal stories about him and his story. ... And, you know, Michelle Obama — she had her speech written also four, five weeks in advance, and she practiced, and she practiced, and she practiced."
As well as Axelrod seemed to remember Obama's speech, he apparently didn't notice that Trump had repeated some of her lines. In fact, the journalist widely credited as the first to document the apparent plagiarism, Jarrett Hill, wasn't at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland and wasn't even assigned to cover the convention at all. He was 2,000 miles away at a coffee shop in Los Angeles.
The New York Times caught up with Hill, who described his discovery.
Mr. Hill, a television journalist who was recently laid off, said in an interview that one of Ms. Trump's lines — the words "strength of your dreams" — caught his attention as he was watching on his computer from a Starbucks in Los Angeles, juggling Facebook chats and browsing Twitter.
Mr. Hill, 31, found the clip of Mrs. Obama's speech online and noticed that parts of the two speeches sounded the same. He then realized that a larger portion appeared to have been borrowed as he continued to examine both.
"I thought, 'That's legit plagiarism,'" said Mr. Hill, who described himself as a supporter of President Obama. "'Someone took this piece and plugged in their own information.'"
The Trump campaign has cycled through various denials and explanations for the, um, overlap between the speeches given by Melania Trump and Michelle Obama. Perhaps the best so far came from campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, speaking to the Hill: "This concept that Michelle Obama invented the English language is absurd."
What's clear is that whoever wrote/copy-pasted Trump's speech figured the journalists covering the convention wouldn't notice. That turned out to be true. But the aide responsible for the speech didn't account for the out-of-work reporter in an L.A. Starbucks.