Pop quiz time. Why are politicians different from reporters? (No jokes about the penchant for junk food and odds hours, please).

Turns out with one group, plagiarism is rewarded — or at least the most flagrant practitioners hope so.

John Edwards is stealing Howard Dean’s tagline “you have the power,” and John Kerry is helping himself to another Dean-ism about “breaking the grip of powerful interests in this country,” according to a careful listen by Knight Ridder’s Thomas Fitzgerald.

Dean is willing to forgive and forget. “That’s part of politics, and it’s not all bad,” he said, when informed of the heists; “Certainly we’ve changed the message of the Democratic Party.”

But what about the voters? With all the tagline theft, will they possibly remember who stands for what?

—S.Q.S.

Susan Q. Stranahan wrote for CJR.