Rand Paul accused of Wikipedia plagiarism
October 31st, 2013
12:00 PM ET
12 months ago

Rand Paul accused of Wikipedia plagiarism

Updated 10/31/2013 at 1:57 p.m. ET

(CNN) - Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul has been accused of plagiarizing from Wikipedia, using several lines in a recent speech that are virtually identical to part of a summary of the 1997 science fiction movie "Gattaca" that had been posted on the popular web site.

While campaigning Monday at Virginia's Liberty University on behalf of that state's Republican gubernatorial nominee, Ken Cuccinelli, Paul drew a parallel between abortion rights and the use of genetics to eliminate certain types of people from society.

"In the movie 'Gattaca' in the not-too-distant future, eugenics is common, and DNA plays a primary role in determining your social class," Paul said.

The first line of the "Gattaca" plot summary posted on Wikipedia reads: "In 'the not-too-distant future,' eugenics is common, and DNA plays the primary role in determining social class."

In his speech, Paul, a tea party favorite and potential 2016 presidential candidate, continued to reference "Gattaca" by using language nearly identical to the Wikipedia summary.

The alleged plagiarism was first noted Monday night on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show."

On Tuesday, the web site Buzzfeed noted other similarities between a Wikipedia summary of the 1988 movie "Stand and Deliver" and lines from an immigration speech delivered by Paul in June.

Paul brushed off the plagiarism charges this week in an interview with the television network Fusion.

"We borrowed the plot lines from 'Gattaca,'" Paul said. "I gave credit to the people who wrote the movie. Nothing I said was not given attribution to where it came from. .... People are making a mountain out of a molehill."

A spokeswoman for the senator told CNN that Paul never insinuated the quotes in question "were his own thoughts or ideas."

"If the text had been submitted for academic publication, of course it would have been footnoted," Eleanor May said. "Only in Washington is something this trivial a source for liberal media angst."


Filed under: Rand Paul
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    Rand was not accused by Maddow, she merely showed what was in Wikipedia, and played Rand saying the exact thing. I was allowed to make up my mind as to whether it was plagiarism or not, and decided that it definitely was.

    October 31, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "In his speech, Paul, a tea party favorite and potential 2016 presidential candidate, continued to reference "Gattaca" by using language nearly identical to the Wikipedia summary. "

    In other words, he was appealing to white race resentment and angst over shifting demographics and the "browning" of 'Murika by implying to them that in the future "brown America" they and their precious white children would be the victims of such a hierarchy and the culling that would accompany it.

    October 31, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    The plagiarism isn't really even the story, albeit noteworthy for how sad and pathetic it is. The real story is the substance (or lack thereof) of his fearmongering and pandering to the religio-fascists by appealing to their love of almost-porn-like stories of apocalyptic societal breakdown and their own impending victimhood that would result. Yes, the subtext was that "all you good Christians will be the first victims," so don't even bother trying to deny it. Nothing gets them going during the War on Christmas season like those kinds of fantasies.

    October 31, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    Well, if Rand Paul wants to plagiarize Wikipedia there isn't much I can say or do to convince him otherwise.

    He is also well known for making stuff up too.

    Aqua Buddha 2016

    October 31, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Tea Queda ideology: Science Fiction

    October 31, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. jonathan

    He identifies it as a quote, not sure what the problem is.

    October 31, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. DannyTV

    He had to travel to Liberty University to find enough weak minded folks that would eat up his paranoid ramblings.

    October 31, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Gurgyl

    Another waste fellow. Total garbage to this nation.

    October 31, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. Swedge70

    Every undergrad in the nation knows not to use Wikipedia as a source. Rand Paul? Not so much.

    October 31, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. Bill

    The Aqua Buddha speaks (someone elses words). What a clown.

    October 31, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Malory Archer

    jonathan

    He identifies it as a quote, not sure what the problem is.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Um, no. He never once mentioned he was cribbing Wikipedia, so unless he wrote the text for the Wikipedia page, he's guilty or plagiarism.

    October 31, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. Data Driven

    He's not the only one.

    Check out Michele Bachmann's response to, of all people, Howard Stern when he attacked her for her anti-SSM stance. She said "these times call for serious solutions, serious people to solve them" and on and on - it was basically a word for word copy of Michael Douglas' final press conference in "The American President". Which is funny, because the writer of that movie, Aaron Sorkin, is very liberal.

    I also see a lot of copy/pasting here from conservative commentators. The Wall Street Journal Op-Ed section is a popular source.

    October 31, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. A True Conservative

    This is the best you can do? For the low information voter this will be enough....as long as those on the left keep promising to send free stuff......

    October 31, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Sw1ngState

    Is this really surprising from the party of morals and values? The same guy who got caught on video conferring with Mcconnell about talking points on the government shut down. I guess Boehner forgot to tell him this wasn't a game.

    October 31, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. David

    The Wikipedia page is taken directly from the IMDB page. Where is the Rachel Maddow episode on that?

    October 31, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    "I also see a lot of copy/pasting here from conservative commentators. The Wall Street Journal Op-Ed section is a popular source."
    --------------------–
    Many sycophants to the right wing media machine do know the difference between an op-ed piece and a news article, mainly because most right wing media sources report opinions as if they were facts. It's why the conspiracy theories are so popular in the right wing.

    October 31, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. ron

    Biden had to withdraw from his presidential campaign long ago for plagiarism. ML King plagiarized his doctoral thesis. And Rand Paul is on the hook for this?

    October 31, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. rs

    The thing about Mr. Paul is if he didn't plagiaize, he'd have nothing to say. Just another case of another GOPper who does not respect the rights and works of others.

    October 31, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. Malory Archer

    A True Conservative

    This is the best you can do?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Accusations of plagiarism cost Joe Biden a run at a Presidential nomination in 1988.

    October 31, 2013 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. politicalrafa

    This coming from someone (Maddow) that has been caught red-handed several times doctoring videos to fit her ideological spin. These MSNBC people ... what they lack in ethics they more than make up with hypocrisy.

    October 31, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. rs

    ron

    Biden had to withdraw from his presidential campaign long ago for plagiarism. ML King plagiarized his doctoral thesis. And Rand Paul is on the hook for this?
    ___________________________
    For two reasons- first he was so lazy he plagiarized a movie plot from Wikipedia, and second what he said was essentially irrelevant and frankly, crazy.
    If you're going to succeed in todays' GOP, you have to be crazy on your feet!

    October 31, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    David

    The Wikipedia page is taken directly from the IMDB page. Where is the Rachel Maddow episode on that?
    --------------------
    Wikipedia isn't a United States Senator who seems to want to run for POTUS. That was easy. Besides, how do you know that it's not the other way around?

    October 31, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Bland is unqualified to be president or a senator or a garbage collector or dog catcher.

    October 31, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  24. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Maybe we could use that unsintific method to get rid of bland, Cruz and his idiot father and the teaparty idiots, thanks bland!!!!!

    October 31, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota

    "This coming from someone (Maddow) that has been caught red-handed several times doctoring videos to fit her ideological spin. These MSNBC people ... what they lack in ethics they more than make up with hypocrisy."

    I don't watch Maddow, but you've spiked my curiosity. Do you have any proof that I might try and confirm your statement?

    October 31, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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