Rand Paul denies plagiarism charges, blames ‘haters’

October 31, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says in a new interview that charges that he has plagiarized Wikipedia in his speeches are an effort by "haters" to bring him down.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow first accused Paul of lifting passages from Wikipedia's summary of the movie "Gattaca." Other reports suggest he has used Wikipedia's verbiage while describing the movie "Stand and Deliver."

Paul said during an interview with Fusion that he sufficiently credited the movies rather than Wikipedia and that his speeches are not supposed to be meticulously footnoted academic papers.

"We borrowed the plot lines from 'Gattaca,' the movie, and I gave credit to the people who wrote the movie," the potential 2016 presidential candidate said. "Nothing I said was not given attribution to where it came from.

"I didn't claim that I created the movie 'Gattaca'; that's what's absurd about this."

While Paul made no secret he was talking about the movie, the plagiarism charge has more to do with whether he appropriated Wikipedia's description of the film without citing the Web site.

Many politicians have been accused of plagiarism. Vice President Biden's 1988 presidential campaign was derailed amid multiple charges of plagiarism. President Obama was also accused of plagiarizing Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Paul also targeted Maddow and others who have pushed the story.

"The rest of it's making a mountain out of a molehill from people I think basically who are political enemies and have an ax to grind," Paul said.  "This is really about information and attacks coming from haters. The person who's leading this attack -- she's been spreading hate on me for about three years now."

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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