Rand Paul responds to plagiarism charges

Posted at 9:56 PM, Nov 05, 2013

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Sen. Rand Paul took responsibility Tuesday for instances of plagiarism exposed in his speeches and writings, saying his office has been “sloppy” and pledging to add footnotes to all of his future material.

“Ultimately I’m the boss, and things go out under my name, and so it is my fault,” Paul said on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.

The Kentucky Republican emphasized that he never intentionally tried to use others’ ideas or words as his 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.”

The Washington Times, a right-leaning newspaper, announced later Tuesday it will drop Paul’s weekly column, saying the Senator failed to attribute a passage in one of his September columns. The passage was originally from Forbes, according to the Times.

“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.

BuzzFeed reported that Paul also lifted a line from another news outlet, The Week, for a column in The Washington Times.

While Paul argued Tuesday that 98% of his speeches are extemporaneous, he and his staff will now “footnote everything as if it were a college paper.”

“I do take this personally and I don’t want to be accused of misrepresenting myself,” he continued. “I’ve never intended to do so, but I think we’ve been sloppy and we’re going to try to be much more precise in the future.”

His interview came after CNN’s Dana Bash reported earlier Tuesday that Paul was “restructuring the approval process” to avoid any further instances of misusing other people’s material, according to spokeswoman Moira Bagley.

Rand Paul accused of Wikipedia plagiarism

A defiant Paul spoke Tuesday to the New York Times, saying the changes are intended to “make people leave me the hell alone,” but did not rule out the discovery of more instances.

Over the weekend, Paul pushed back against the increasing number of accusations of plagiarism, including a new claim that Paul lifted more than a thousand words from a Heritage Foundation study for his 2013 book.

A spokesman for Heritage told CNN that they’re happy to have their work cited by Paul and that the straight lifting of the paragraphs didn’t bother them.

CNN’s Ashley Killough, Paul Steinhauser, and Brian Todd contributed to this report.