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July 19, 2016

Christie: '93 percent' of Melania Trump's speech was different from Michelle Obama's

New Jersey governor defends apparent cribbing of 2008 remarks

Responding to accusations that Melania Trump plagiarized sections of a speech made by first lady Michelle Obama during the 2008 Democratic National Convention, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday morning on the "Today" show that most of Trump's speech was original.

Christie, a Donald Trump supporter who has frequently campaigned for the presumptive Republican nominee since dropping out of the race earlier this year, said that "93 percent" of Melania Trump's speech made at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland Tuesday night was "completely different" from Obama's, adding that the two "expressed some common thoughts."

When "Today" host Matt Lauer challenged Christie, noting that an entire section of the speech seemed to be an almost word-for-word rip-off, the governor brushed off the claim, categorizing it as an incident that the media jumped on in a desperate attempt to cover something.

Donald Trump's campaign denied charges that Melania Trump cribbed an entire section from Obama's 2008 speech, as a campaign spokesperson used language similar to Christie's, saying they both simply used "common words."

Here are the passages in question, per The Associated Press:

In Mrs. Trump's speech in Cleveland, she said: "From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise, that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily life."

In Mrs. Obama's 2008 speech in Denver, she said: "And 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, that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don't know them and even if you don't agree with them."

Another passage with notable similarities that follows two sentences later in Mrs. Trump's speech addresses her attempts to instill those values in her son.

"We need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow," Mrs. Trump said. "Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."

In the first lady's 2008 speech, she said, "Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values and to pass them onto the next generation, because we want our children — and all children in this nation — to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them."

Christie's defense of the speech comes after an apparent campaign gaffe in which the governor stated that Donald Trump gave generously to his wife Mary Pat Christie's charity that raised money for Superstorm Sandy relief efforts.

After it was discovered that Donald Trump wasn't listed in a final report from the charity thanking donors who gave at least $25,000 to the fund, a Christie spokesperson said the governor "misspoke."

That incident followed reports that claimed Christie was upset about being passed over as Donald Trump's running mate for Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Christie said he was disappointed but had "no discontent" over Donald Trump picking Pence.