Paul responds to growing number of plagiarism claims
November 4th, 2013
08:50 AM ET
6 months ago

Paul responds to growing number of plagiarism claims

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul is pushing back against an increasing number of accusations of plagiarism in his speeches, including a new claim that the Kentucky Republican lifted more than a thousand words from a Heritage Foundation study for his 2013 book.

"I take it as an insult, and I will not lie down and say people can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting - I have never intentionally done so and like I say, 'If dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know it'd be a duel challenge,' " Paul said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

Numerous reports last week spotlighted instances where Paul, a favorite of many tea party supporters and grassroots conservative activists, and a likely 2016 GOP presidential contender, seemed to have lifted entire lines from other sources, including Wikipedia, in his speeches.

"I didn't get into the secondary sources and say I quoted Einstein as according to an AP story or as according to Wikipedia," said Paul. "I think the spoken word shouldn't be held to the same sort of standard that you have if you're giving a scientific paper. I've written scientific papers, I know how to footnote things, but we've never footnoted speeches, and if that's the standard I'm going to be held to, yes, we will change and we will footnote things."

Rand Paul accused of Wikipedia plagiarism

Paul added that it's difficult to attribute sources in his speeches since he said "98 percent" of his addresses were extemporaneous, but said he'll adjust if that's what necessary.

"If it's required, I'll do it, but I think I'm being unfairly targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters, and I'm just not going to put up with people casting aspersions on my character," said Paul.

Paul's comments came as BuzzFeed reported over the weekend that Paul copied 1,318 words from a 2003 case study from the Heritage Foundation for his 2013 book "Government Bullies." The report points out that the book's footnotes included a link to the Heritage report, but that no attempt was made to indicate that the words in Paul's text had been taken directly from Heritage.

A senior adviser to the Senator defended Paul, saying he makes it clear in the book's "notes and sources" that he didn't individually research each case.

Doug Stafford, who co-wrote the book with Paul, told CNN that "sources used in the book are cited in the endnotes.  The longer passage should have been indented and quoted to note a direct quotation."

"There were 150 endnotes and cites including The Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute. This is a witch hunt and grasping at straws," added Stafford, in separate comments to BuzzFeed.

A spokesman for Heritage told CNN that they're happy to have their work cited by Paul, and that the straight lifting of the paragraphs didn't bother them.

 – CNN Correspondent Brian Todd and CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: Rand Paul
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    'If dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know it'd be a duel challenge,' " Paul said Sunday .....
    -------------------------
    That's a pretty crazy and extreme way to express your frustration at someone. It's a borderline threat to cause someone extreme physical harm, hypothetical scenario or not. Rand Paul is out there, where no sane man has gone before.

    November 4, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  2. ST

    Oh! Come on Mr. Wikipedia, you were caught red-handed. Why can't you admit the mistake and move on? Whom are you trying to fool?

    November 4, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  3. Data Driven

    What good are footnotes and endnotes if the material in the text isn't attributed to other sources? Sure, you can have a hundred pages of endnotes, but are they referring back to the text? Which part of Paul's text is from the material, which part is from Paul?

    As for this: "I think the spoken word shouldn't be held to the same sort of standard that you have if you're giving a scientific paper" - In what legal universe? Plagiarism is pretty cut-and-dried: if you're speaking words that belong to someone else without attribution, that's plagiarism. It doesn't matter what you "think".

    November 4, 2013 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Boo-hoo. "I take it as an insult, and I will not lie down and say that people can call me dishonest, misleading or
    misrepresenting.........................."
    --
    Good. Then stand up, like a man, and say "oops". Weakness is unbecoming, and you, Paul, are a very weak
    person.
    The idiotic things you say and changing your mind every time the wind changes makes it obvious you are
    not ready for "prime time".
    You got caught. Deal with it, and "duel" with your dual personalities.

    November 4, 2013 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    Rand Paul has a "messaging" problem. Ted Cruz has a "messaging" problem. The Republican party has a "messaging" problem. Reince Preibus has a "messaging" problem.

    To quote Rand Paul:

    'If dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know it'd be a duel challenge,' " Paul said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

    Welcome to the Grand Old Party alternate reality show. Funny? Not really. Pathetic actually. For grown adults anyway.

    November 4, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    but I think I'm being unfairly targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters, and I'm just not going to put up with people casting aspersions on my character," said Paul.
    -------------------------------------------------
    You'd think he'd be thankful that people are actually listening to what he has to say.I know I don't.
    So here's what he needs to do to: hand out the footnotes for your speeches, and be glad they are nto asking you to carry your birth certificate stenciled to the back of your t-shirt like they did the POTUS.

    November 4, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  7. cumulus

    I think its funny, you mean he doesn't like it when every word he utters comes under attack by extremists? Oh the humanity, what you give is what you get son: now try to learn from this

    November 4, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    but I think I'm being unfairly targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters, and I'm just not going to put up with people casting aspersions on my character," said Paul
    -------------------------------------------------
    Then you need to stop copying and pasting.

    November 4, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  9. cumulus

    There's a serious lack of accountability in the gop, literally. I am continually amazed at how immature our gop hate machine has become, how can they not see it?

    November 4, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  10. Marie MD

    Insult is something you know about. You are dishonest, a liar and a racist.
    You are the number one hater so you are in good company.
    Your mistake was trusting Wikipedia, you turkey fool!

    November 4, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda Minnesota
    'If dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know it'd be a duel challenge,' " Paul said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."
    -------------------------------------------------
    Lynda is that even a sentence?
    The Republicnas do indeed have a messaging problem ,stemming, among other things, from an innate inability to speak proper english.
    Happy Monday to ya'!

    November 4, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. Malory Archer

    I was taught in high school literature that if you use someone else's words, you should cite your sources. little rand would be tossed out of class on his backside in today's digital age where college professors and instructors worth their salt run students' essays through a filter to ensure they're not cribbing someone else's work. It's pathetic that someone with such lofty political ambitions is so willfully ignorant of the definition of "plagiarism" and the fact that DENIES IT and blames those who call him out when he's caught red handing committing it!

    November 4, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  13. tom l

    The really funny thing is that if liberals weren't such crazy crazy partisans these days (can say the same for hardcore repubs too) they would find themselves actually agreeing with Rand Paul. That is, until they lost their moral compass and decided to back everything President Obama does even if they were diametrically opposed before. You know, little things like the NSA spying and drones flying over our own heads spying on us used to be frowned upon by the left until now.

    November 4, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  14. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    "I take it as an insult, and I will not lie down and say people can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting"

    Sorry Rand, everything in that line is true. You are an intellectual lightweight and you are not honest. I hope the people of Kentucky get wise to you and throw you out of office.

    November 4, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    As someone who has also done research, it seems more than a little odd that someone could lift over 1300 words from a case study without properly attributing the source of the information, and that it takes Buzzfeed to find it. Where were the people in the GOP who were supposed to be checking on this? Is it because the information was a decade old, and people who did recognise it no longer thought it was relevant? Plagiarism is a question of ethics, and ridiculous threats of duels and honor don't hide the fact that Rand Paul is, at the very least, undisciplined and arrogant, and at worst, a thief and a liar. If he has the research background he claims to have, he should have known better, and it sounds more like he did not think he would get caught. There is a difference between plagiarising a line or two from a speech and directly using significant hunks of information others had published under their name. It points to being intellectually lazy and egotisticial.

    November 4, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  16. A True Conservative

    Desperate to discredit the Tea Party and conservatives in general – the MSM throws the kitchen sink at them. Now that the American people have the opportunity to see that the conservatives have been telling them the truth all along. Still many on the left are so blind that they can't or won't see it – besides – the Dems continue to give so much nice free stuff

    November 4, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    "A senior adviser to the Senator defended Paul, saying he makes it clear in the book's "notes and sources" that he didn't individually research each case. "
    --------------------
    TRANSLATION: Rand Paul didn't write his own book, so don't blame him for its' flaws and mistakes.

    November 4, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  18. Randy, San Francisco

    What is this nonsense talk about dueling if it was legal in Kentucky? Sen Paul just demonstrated why he is not presidential material.

    November 4, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  19. Data Driven

    @tom l,

    "they would find themselves actually agreeing with Rand Paul."

    Who knows? Maybe. Problem is, we now can't tell if Rand Paul is using his own words, or someone else's.

    " little things like the NSA spying and drones flying over our own heads spying on us used to be frowned upon by the left until now."

    Can you cite comments from the liberals here cheering such activities? Speaking entirely for myself, I think such activities are unConstitutional, and have said as much many times. Not only that, I've blasted Obama for it here as well. Can you blast Rand Paul for plagiarism?

    November 4, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  20. Cathy

    If it was Obama he sure would be raising hell. Whats good for the goose Mr.Paul.

    November 4, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican Mama:

    "Happy Monday to ya'!"

    I don't know if he speaks in complete sentences or not, but I am looking forward to his next speech wherein he utters the words ... "and I quote Wikipedia" ... (blah,blah, blah) ... every other sentence or so. Dude has a memorizing fascination with Wikipedia.

    November 4, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  22. Gurgyl

    Neither Pau, nor Jim DeMint, nor Scott Walker, not Ted Cruz, nor even Criss have any value at this time. They need to refresh their mind set.

    November 4, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    -A True Conservative

    Desperate to discredit the Tea Party and conservatives in general – the MSM throws the kitchen sink at them. Now that the American people have the opportunity to see that the conservatives have been telling them the truth all along. Still many on the left are so blind that they can't or won't see it – besides – the Dems continue to give so much nice free stuff
    **********************
    Wow. This coming from the person who, only last week, claimed he ran his own statistical models on global warming on his own time even though his degrees don't make him qualified to dispute the findings of people who have studied the subject for years? With regards to Paul, this is a question of integrity, and I would have thought you would have been alarmed at a potential presidential candidate who lifted over 1300 words from a Heritage Foundation study and passed them off as his own work. I guess your sense of ethics ends when your carefully crafted system ( typical engineer) is threatened with an anomoly that you can't explain, so you attribute it to a MSM media plot, and start threatening duels ( shades of Zell Miller) Wonderful. Way to use those engineering degrees you claim you earned. BTW, with regards to climate change, those engineering degrees do NOT qualify you as an atmospheric chemist, only to carry their laptops, so stop talking about subjects your education and experience do not qualify you for.

    November 4, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  24. Data Driven

    @Rudy NYC
    "A senior adviser to the Senator defended Paul, saying he makes it clear in the book's "notes and sources" that he didn't individually research each case. "
    ------–
    TRANSLATION: Rand Paul didn't write his own book, so don't blame him for its' flaws and mistakes."

    Heh, you noticed that too, Rudy? I suppose we're jumping on the wrong person - we need to go after Paul's ghostwriters.

    November 4, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  25. tom l

    @Data,
    Sure, if it makes you feel better. I don't condone his plagerism but it really isn't at the top of my list for things to worry about. If he did indeed do it then that's wrong but it really isn't that big of a deal.

    What is a big deal is the NSA and drones. Please tell me you remember when Rand Paul was fillibustering with regards to the drones. Do you remember the vitriol and hatred towards him here on these comment sections? I remember it well. Remember the "aqua budha" comments? Remember the comments about his hair? It was one of the better demonstrations of the lack of any intellectual honesty from the left I have seen.

    And, yes, Real TP, there has been some great ones from the right, as well. Especially with regards to someone like Vitter (happy? :)).

    However, the hate spewing from the left at Rand Paul is so funny because this guy actually has positions that liberals used to agree with B.O. (Before Obama).

    November 4, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
1 2