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Bush aide quits over plagiarism

Times Staff Writer

The White House official serving as President Bush’s liaison to conservative groups resigned Friday after it was disclosed that a newspaper column he wrote contained material lifted without attribution from a student publication.

The aide, Timothy S. Goeglein, has worked at the White House since 2001, most recently as special assistant to the president and deputy director of the Office of Public Liaison.

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said in a written statement that Bush was “disappointed” about Goeglein’s plagiarism and “saddened” for him and his family.

Goeglein, 44, was accused Friday of using material from the Dartmouth Review -- an independent student publication for which a number of leading conservative writers have worked -- in columns he wrote, without White House sanction, for the News-Sentinel of his native Fort Wayne, Ind.

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The News-Sentinel reported on its website that Goeglein had admitted that portions of a column about education that appeared under his name in Thursday’s paper “were used from another source without attribution.”

The newspaper said that 20 of 38 columns Goeglein had written for it from 2000 to 2008 “have been found to have portions copied from other sources without attribution.”

It said he had submitted guest columns, for which he was not paid, for more than 20 years, and that the paper was checking his earlier essays. In a statement on the News-Sentinel’s website, Editor Kerry Hubartt said: “We will not publish writings by Goeglein in the future.”

Goeglein first went to work for Bush as an aide during 2000 presidential campaign. He was enlisted by Karl Rove, the top political advisor to the then-governor of Texas.

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In the White House, Goeglein continued to work for Rove, who left the White House staff last year. Goeglein’s most recent position involved reaching out to the president’s conservative allies, mainly economic and religious groups, as the White House sought to build support for Bush’s programs.

His guest columns in the News-Sentinel were not written with the sanction of the administration, although he was identified as a White House official.

Emily Lawrimore, a White House spokeswoman, said the press office did not know that he was writing the essays. She added that Goeglein has said that earlier in the administration, he had notified someone in the office of his submissions.

The similarities between his work and that in the Dartmouth publication were disclosed by a blogger, Nancy Nall, a former News-Sentinel columnist. On Friday, she posted several examples, including this one:

From Goeglein’s most recent column: “A notable professor of philosophy at Dartmouth College in the last century, Eugene Rosenstock-Hussey, expressed the matter succinctly. His wisdom is not only profound but also worth pondering in this new century. He said, ‘The goal of education is to form the Citizen. And the Citizen is a person who, if need be, can re-found his civilization.’

“He meant that, I think, in quite a large sense. He did not mean that you had to master all the specialties you can think of, but rather to be an educated man or woman, you needed to be familiar with the large and indispensable components of our civilization.”

From the Dartmouth Review, in an article by Jeffrey Hart, which Nall said was published in 1998: “A notable Professor of Philosophy at Dartmouth, Eugene Rosenstock-Hussey often expressed the matter succinctly. ‘The goal of education,’ he would say, ‘is to form the Citizen. And the Citizen is a person who, if need be, can re-found his civilization.’

“He meant that in quite large a sense. He did not mean that you had to master all the specialties you can think of.

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“He meant that you need to be familiar with the large and indispensable components of your -- this -- civilization.”

Goeglein did not return a call to his office for comment.

Perino said that Goeglein “accepted responsibility for the columns published under his name in his local newspaper, and has apologized for not upholding the standards expected by the president.”

She said Bush, who left at midday to spend the weekend at his ranch near Crawford, Texas, “has long appreciated Tim’s service, and he knows him to be a good person who is committed to his country.”

Perino said Goeglein helped the White House establish its office that works with faith-based and community groups, as well as the unit that oversees Bush’s emergency plan for AIDS relief. He also was part of the administration teams that guided the Senate confirmations of John G. Roberts Jr. as Supreme Court chief justice and of Samuel A. Alito Jr. as a justice on the court.

Goeglein previously worked for former Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) and in the office of Vice President Dan Quayle.

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james.gerstenzang@ latimes.com

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