The White House Plagiarist

By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Friday, February 29, 2008; 2:08 PM

Timothy S. Goeglein, a top White House aide who is President Bush's chief liaison to religious groups, has admitted to plagiarizing a column he wrote for his hometown paper, the Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel.

Goeglein is a special assistant to the president and deputy director of public liaison. He previously worked closely with Karl Rove and during the 2004 election was Bush's chief emissary to conservative political groups.

Sylvia A. Smith writes in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: "A Fort Wayne native and White House official acknowledged Friday he copied large portions of an essay that appeared in a Dartmouth College publication and presented them as his own in a News-Sentinel column.

"'It is true,' Tim Goeglein wrote to The Journal Gazette in an email. 'I am entirely at fault. It was wrong of me. There are no excuses.'

"He said he wrote to the author of the essay, Jeffrey Hart 'to apologize, and do so categorically and without exception.'

" Nancy Nall, a former News-Sentinel columnist who writes a blog from her home in Michigan, detailed the nearly word-for-word similarities of eight paragraphs of Goeglein's 16-paragraph essay about college education, which appeared in the News-Sentinel Thursday, and Hart's column, which was written about a decade ago.

"Kerry Hubartt, editor of the News-Sentinel, said his newspaper learned of the apparent plagiarism Friday when Nall wrote about it. He said the newspaper had removed Goeglein's column from its web site and that editors were checking Goeglein's past columns for any other examples of copying. . . .

"Goeglein has worked in the Bush White House since 2001 as the Bush administration's liaison to religious organizations. He formerly worked for then-Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind."

Nall wrote in her blog that reading the column in yesterday's paper by Goeglein, "a name jumped out at me -- 'Eugene Rosenstock-Hussey,' described as a 'notable professor of philosophy at Dartmouth.' . . . This name was so goofy, just for the hell of it, I Googled it. And look what I found."

What she found were long passages apparently taken almost word for word from a 1998 article in the Dartmouth Review by Hart.

Since then, one of her readers found passages in Goeglein's Nov. 5 column about Hoagy Carmichael that appears lifted from a Jonathan Yardley essay published in The Washington Post on Sept. 3.

Another reader found Goeglein's July 23 column on John Wayne's centenary containing passages from an article by Bruce Bennett published in the New York Sun on June 20. That same reader then found similarities between Goeglein's July 5 column and an article by Robert R. Reilly published in Crisis Magazine on June 13.

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