(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says reports that he plagiarized recent speeches from Wikipedia are part of an attack from “people who are political enemies and have an ax to grind.”
“This is about information and attacks coming from ‘haters,'” Paul said in an interview with Fusion’s Jorge Ramos on Wednesday. “She’s been spreading hate on me for three years.”
The “she” in question is MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, the liberal anchor who pointed out the similarity between several lines in the senator’s speeches and the text of Wikipedia entries during her show Monday night.
Paul, who was in Virginia stumping for gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, referred to the 1997 film Gattaca, the Uma Thurman flick that depicts a future driven by eugenics, to criticize pro-abortion rights advocates.
The side-by-side comparison between Paul’s speech and the Wikipedia page is strikingly similar:
Paul: “In the movie Gattaca — in the not too distant future — eugenics is common. And DNA plays a primary role in determining your social class.”
Wikipedia: “In the not-too-distant future, liberal eugenics is common and DNA plays the primary role in determining social class.”
“I didn’t claim that I created the movie Gattaca — see that’s what’s absurd about this,” Paul told Ramos. “The plot line from Gattaca belongs to one person, the guy, the screenwriter, and I gave him credit for that.”
But the parallel between Paul’s words and the Wikipedia entry on the film is almost word-for-word:
Paul: “Due to frequent screenings, Vincent faces genetic discrimination and prejudice. The only way to achieve his dream of being an astronaut is, he has to become what’s called a ‘borrowed ladder.'”
Wikipedia: “Due to frequent screening, Vincent faces genetic discrimination and prejudice. The only way he can achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut is to become a ‘borrowed ladder.'”
This isn’t the first time Paul seems to have borrowed from Wikipedia (a move originated by high school students everywhere).
While discussing immigration during a speech at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles in June, Paul referenced the movie, Stand and Deliver, a 1988 drama based on real-life Los Angeles high school math teacher Jamie Escalante.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison, as first reported by Buzzfeed:
Paul: “In the area of East Los Angeles, in 1982, in an environment that values a quick fix over education and learning, Escalante was a new math teacher at Garfield High School determined to change the system and challenge the students to a higher level of achievement.”
Wikipedia: “In the area of East Los Angeles, California, in 1982, in an environment that values a quick fix over education and learning, Jaime ‘Kemo’ Escalante is a new teacher at Garfield High School determined to change the system and challenge the students to a higher level of achievement.”
Paul said the matter was merely one of attribution.
“It’s a disagreement of how you footnote things and I think people footnote things differently in an academic paper than they do in a public speech,” Paul told Ramos. “But a lot of time in speeches people don’t take the time to footnote things.”
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