November 5th, 2013
06:40 PM ET
9 months ago

Rand Paul on plagiarism: 'We've been sloppy'

(CNN) - Sen. Rand Paul took responsibility Tuesday for instances of plagiarism exposed in his speeches and writings, saying his office has been "sloppy" and pledging to add footnotes to all of his future material.

"Ultimately I'm the boss, and things go out under my name, and so it is my fault," Paul said on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.

The Kentucky Republican emphasized that he never intentionally tried to use others' ideas or words as his own.

"Did we make mistakes? Yeah, I'm the first to admit that I'm imperfect. But at the same time, I do get offended when people try to cast aspersions on my character - because I'm honest," he said. "I've never tried to mislead people. I've made mistakes, but you know, I think that's different than trying to attack someone's character."

The Washington Times, a right-leaning newspaper, announced later Tuesday it will drop Paul's weekly column, saying the Senator failed to attribute a passage in one of his September columns. The passage was originally from Forbes, according to the Times.

"We expect our columnists to submit original work and to properly attribute material, and we appreciate that the senator and his staff have taken responsibility for an oversight in one column," Times Editor John Solomon said.

BuzzFeed reported that Paul also lifted a line from another news outlet, The Week, for a column in The Washington Times.

While Paul argued Tuesday that 98% of his speeches are extemporaneous, he and his staff will now "footnote everything as if it were a college paper."

"I do take this personally and I don't want to be accused of misrepresenting myself," he continued. "I've never intended to do so, but I think we've been sloppy and we're going to try to be much more precise in the future."

His interview came after CNN's Dana Bash reported earlier Tuesday that Paul was "restructuring the approval process" to avoid any further instances of misusing other people's material, according to spokeswoman Moira Bagley.

Rand Paul accused of Wikipedia plagiarism

A defiant Paul spoke Tuesday to the New York Times, saying the changes are intended to "make people leave me the hell alone," but did not rule out the discovery of more instances.

Over the weekend, Paul pushed back against the increasing number of accusations of plagiarism, including a new claim that Paul lifted more than a thousand words from a Heritage Foundation study for his 2013 book.

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's Ashley Killough, Paul Steinhauser, and Brian Todd contributed to this report.

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.


Filed under: Rand Paul • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    "A defiant Paul spoke Tuesday to The New York Times, saying the changes are intended to "make people leave me the hell alone" but did not rule out more instances will be discovered."

    Ooooops. This is gettin' good. Real good. Not only real good, but perhaps real actionable. The Heritage writers from whom Paul cribbed his stuff may not care, but their publishers might.

    Biden got drummed out of the Dem primary in 88 because of plagiarism accusations, as you'll recall.

    November 5, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. Hooper

    Just make the real change. Recognize your limitations, and go away. Go away as far as humanly possible.

    November 5, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Tampa Tim

    Speaking of websites, see if you can find the republican health care plan on Boehner's website.
    ---------------------
    type this into google. " republican health care plan 2009 " It'll be around the 6th hit

    If you see a link to Boehner's site as a representative, not as speaker, that's it.
    It's a new blog, dated June 17, 2009

    Sniffit says that it's a bunch of mumbo jumbo, lacking aubstance. I say, when have Republicans actually said anything of any substance besides let's fight and go to war. That health care plan contains as much substance as any of the Ryan Plans.

    November 5, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  4. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    It looks like he's trying to blame his staff, so I guess the teaparty idiot never writes his own arrivals or speeches..why don't you just go home you quack!!!!!

    November 5, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "Biden got drummed out of the Dem primary in 88 because of plagiarism accusations, as you'll recall."

    IOKIYAR

    November 5, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    @Tampa Tim.
    There is a link to a PDF at the bottom of the 06/17/09 Press Release. The PDF is a copy of *blog* post, dated June 2009. I'm hproblems finding the original blog today. I've talked about it a few times on the Ticker recently.aving

    November 5, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. Michael Benjamin

    Without plagiarizing he will have nothing of any substance to say. Too funny!

    November 5, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. Hammerer

    Rudy;
    "killed osama bin laden"
    if you are going to tout his kills then add the women and children that he has killed with drones while acting as judge, jury and executioner.
    Wana talk about that?

    November 5, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    Well, maybe he needs to review his criteria for being a Senator and who should be working for him. It should not include a neo-Confederate " Southern Avenger", it should not include people who cannot properly attribute data to its proper source, and it should not include anyone with links to the wacko movement that helped to elect him. As bad as Obama's polling numbers are, the GOPs and the TPs are far worse.

    November 5, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. misterto

    Sure, this is lame of Mr. Paul, but much more important are his political views. He is an extremely conservative Libertarian, and wants government to be basically non-existent– with one exception: he wants to make sure that Government forces all people to live by laws based in his religious beliefs (the "social issues"), whether they believe it or not. Is that America, home of the free? As for this plagiarism thing, it shows laziness, but is largely a non-story. I can guarantee that there are washington politicians who have done far worse things this week; maybe even in the past hour! Once again, Cable News focuses on the stupid stuff, and largely misses on the important. Some real journalism, please!

    November 5, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    -Hammerer

    Rudy;
    "killed osama bin laden"
    if you are going to tout his kills then add the women and children that he has killed with drones while acting as judge, jury and executioner.
    Wana talk about that?
    ******************
    Fine, let's talk about it. Since you are undoubtably a Johnny-come-lately to the subject of using drones instead of sending in SEAL teams and risking American lives to kill people who want us dead, please explain to us how you would prefer these operations to be conducted. My nephew spent 2 tours in Afganistan on the ground: do you know anyone who is there, or has gone? Pick up your toys and run along.

    November 5, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Hammerer

    Rudy;
    "killed osama bin laden"
    if you are going to tout his kills then add the women and children that he has killed with drones while acting as judge, jury and executioner.
    Wana talk about that?
    ------------------
    Only if you want to talk about the tens of thousands killed in Iraq War.
    But, you really don't want to. Do you? Wassamatta? Scared to stay on topic.

    November 5, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
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