Rand Paul attacks media over plagiarism accusations

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says "there is a difference between errors of omission and errors of intention."
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says “there is a difference between errors of omission and errors of intention.”
(Alex Wong / Getty Images)

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Rand Paul shifted his tone from apology to condemnation Wednesday as he continued to face fallout from alleged plagiarism in numerous speeches and articles.

Last week, the Kentucky Republican chalked up accusations that he had improperly lifted passages from Wikipedia to a misunderstanding about attribution practices and the malicious intent of “haters.” But as more suspiciously similar passages emerged, including one in a September Washington Times column that prompted the paper to suspend Paul’s weekly contributions, Paul has been forced to go on the offensive.

“What makes me mad about the whole thing is that I believe there is a difference between errors of omission and errors of intention. We aren’t perfect and we have made errors of omission, but we never intended to mislead anybody,” Paul told the Review’s Robert Costa, saying the whole situation has been blown out of proportion.

Paul lashed out at the Associated Press and MSNBC in particular for their coverage of his Liberty University speech, which sparked the controversy. “Nobody reports on what the speech was even about,” he said. “At least I saw the movie ‘Gattaca.’ I read the book ‘1984.’ They didn’t even read my damn speech.”


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But a day earlier, Paul struck a more conciliatory tone on CNN, telling host Wolf Blitzer: “Ultimately, I’m the boss, and things go out under my name, so it is my fault.”

And Paul expanded upon his plans to move past the scandal in an interview with the New York Times.

“What we are going to do from here forward, if it will make people leave me the hell alone, is we’re going to do them like college papers. We’re going to try and put out footnotes,” he said.

Paul admitted that some of his prepared remarks are hastily assembled and said his office will be restructured. But he added that no one will be fired.

Wikipedia has declined to comment, saying it has a policy not to do so on editorial matters.

The man whose article was lifted in one of Paul’s Washington Times articles, Dan Stewart of The Week, wrote Thursday that he’s “flattered” by the plagiarism.

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