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Plagiarism Charges Stalk Rand Paul and He Vows Never Again

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Wednesday, 06 Nov 2013 08:53 AM

By Alexandra Ward

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the potential 2016 GOP contender who's facing charges of plagiarism, vowed Tuesday to make changes to prevent unattributed writing from appearing in his speeches or columns ever again.

The plagiarism accusations started last week when MSNBC's Rachel Maddow claimed that Paul had lifted a Wikipedia description of the 1997 film "Gattaca" and used it in a recent speech he gave in support of Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia's Republican candidate for governor.

BuzzFeed also dug up another instance of alleged plagiarism from the Wikipedia entry for the film "Stand and Deliver."

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In an interview last week with Fusion, Paul dismissed the charges.

"We borrowed the plot lines from 'Gattaca.' It's a movie," Paul said. "I gave credit to the people who wrote the movie… Nothing I said was not given attribution to where it came from."

He later said people were "making a mountain out of a molehill."

But the whispers of plagiarism continued to grow louder this week with another accusation — this one claiming that Paul copied language from a September essay that appeared in "The Week" magazine in one of his columns for the Washington Times.

The Times announced Tuesday it was dropping Paul's regular weekly columns.

"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 in a statement.

Paul addressed the media Tuesday and took responsibility for the plagiarism.

"Ultimately, I'm the boss, and things go out under my name, so it is my fault," Paul told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "But I would say that people need to understand that I never have intentionally ever presented anyone's ideas as my 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."

According to Doug Stafford, a Paul senior adviser, the senator has implemented "a new approval process" to "ensure proper citation and accountability in all collaborative works."

"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," Paul told the New York Times. "We're going to try to put out footnotes."

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