“Ayn” Rand Paul Pledges Caution Amid More Borrowed Language
A top adviser to Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday night that the Kentucky Republican would be “more cautious in presenting and attributing sources” in the future, after POLITICO confronted the senator’s office with fresh examples of Paul speeches that borrowed language from news reports without citing the original source.
POLITICO contacted Paul’s staff Thursday evening with multiple instances in which the popular conservative used language — either word for word or nearly verbatim — that had first appeared elsewhere.
Paul faced questions of plagiarism earlier this week for apparently lifting some language in a speech from the Wikipedia entry for the 1997 film “Gattaca.” The potential 2016 presidential candidate dismissed the initial report from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow as the work of “haters.” BuzzFeed also reported Tuesday that Paul had copied language from the Wikipedia entry on the movie “Stand and Deliver.”
The latest examples include a 2013 speech by Paul responding to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address. The senator said this, according to remarks distributed by his office: “Under President Obama, the ranks of America’s poor swelled to almost 1 in 6 people last year, reaching a new high as long-term unemployment left millions of Americans struggling and out of work.”
That language exactly mirrored a 2011 report by The Associated Press that began: “The ranks of America’s poor swelled to almost 1 in 6 people last year, reaching a new high as long-term unemployment left millions of Americans struggling and out of work.”
In a second instance of questionable borrowing, Paul told an audience at Howard University about a young man, Ronald Holassie, whom he cited as a success story of the D.C. school voucher program.
“By sixth grade, Ronald Holassie was failing most of his classes, but through school choice he was able to attend a Catholic school in the D.C. area,” Paul told listeners, according to his website. “There, he learned that he had a natural gift for composing music, but before that, his reading level was so low that he had struggled to write lyrics.”
A 2010 passage in CitizenLink, the magazine of the social conservative group Focus on the Family, used nearly identical turns of phrase to recount Holassie’s story: “[Holassie] described public schools where fighting was more common than learning. By the sixth grade, Ronald was failing most of his classes. He has a natural gift for composing music, but was so far behind in reading that he struggled to write lyrics.”