Vivek Ramaswamy stole one of his opening lines at Wednesday night’s GOP primary debate straight from former President Barack Obama.
Ramaswamy introduced himself as a “skinny guy with a funny last name” after receiving his first question from moderator Bret Baier in Milwaukee on Wednesday. The phrase echoed Obama’s own choice of words when he introduced himself to the country while delivering the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.
“So, first let me just address a question that’s on everybody’s mind at home tonight Who the heck is this skinny guy with a funny last name and what the heck is he doing in the middle of this debate stage?” Ramaswamy joked, echoing Obama almost word-for-word.
“I’ll tell you, I’m not a politician, Bret, you’re right about that. I’m an entrepreneur. My parents came to this country with no money 40 years ago. I have gone on to found multibillion-dollar companies,” he continued.
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Vivek Ramaswamy stole his introductory line straight from President Barack Obama at the first GOP primary debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Wednesday night. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
In 2004, Obama referred to himself as “a skinny kid with a funny name,” a joke that was met with laughter and applause from the audience. At the time, Obama was a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Illinois, but the speech would launch his political career on a trajectory to the White House.
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Only one candidate called out Ramaswamy for stealing words from the former president, and that was former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, though he slightly misattributed the line.
Barack Obama referred to himself as “a skinny kid with a funny name,” a joke that met with laughter and applause at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
“No, hold on, hold on. Enough,” Christie said later on in the debate. “I’ve had enough already tonight of a guy who sounds like ChatGPT.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called out Vivek Ramaswamy for ripping his introductory line from President Barack Obama. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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“He stands up here, and the last person in one of these debates, Bret, who stood in the middle of the stage and said, ‘What’s a skinny guy with an odd last name doing up here’ was Barack Obama,” he stated.
Obama never in fact made the statement on a debate stage, just at the 2004 convention.