Councilman says he had no intention to plagiarize in speech

2012-08-29T19:00:00Z 2012-08-30T11:14:03Z Councilman says he had no intention to plagiarize in speechBy Joyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | City Councilman John Cannon said he had no intention to plagiarize someone else's press release in his own speech calling for term limits.

He called it a "bone-headed mistake by a first year councilman."

Portions of Cannon's speech, given Tuesday in front of City Hall were seemingly taken word for word from a press release issued on March 20 by Terry White. White is the Warrick County Democrat Party chairman and a candidate for state senate in District 50.

In White's press release, he called for term limits for state legislators. Several phrases and paragraphs from White's press release were identical to Cannon's except for changing references from state legislature to city government.

"I wasn't even aware of that," Cannon said Wednesday morning. "Somebody helped me with this. They put it together and it sounds like what I should say."

Cannon said he's no "wordsmith" and gave his ideas to a friend who wrote the speech. Cannon admitted he didn't fact check. References to presidents Ronald Reagan, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were original to Cannon's speech.

Cannon, a Republican, was surprised the words he spoke originated with a Democrat and said had he known it would have been "great fuel for my fire."

"It is the most sincere form of flattery," said White's campaign manager, Alex Jarvis.

Jarvis added White, who wrote his own press release, would applaud Cannon for taking on the term limit issue and showing that it is a "bipartisan issue that affects all Hoosiers."

Portage City Council President Sue Lynch said she was "shocked" Cannon would have claimed someone else's words as his own.

"Anytime you are giving a speech, you need to back up your information. Shame on him for not making sure. He should have done a better job doing his homework," Lynch said. She said there is no official action available for the council to take on the matter.

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