Rand Paul Rips Off Wikipedia

Rachel Maddow catches the plagiarism

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 29, 2013 10:52 AM CDT

(Newser) – If you already thought it was weird that Rand Paul went on a rant about eugenics during a speech in Virginia yesterday, well, the story just got even weirder. Rachel Maddow pointed out last night that parts of the speech were lifted from Wikipedia, Mediaite reports. Specifically, the Wikipedia entry about 1997 sci-fi movie Gattaca. Go ahead and compare:

  • Paul: "In the movie Gattaca, in the not-too-distant future, eugenics is common. And DNA plays the primary role in determining your social class. ... 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.' ... He assumes the identity of a Jerome Morrow, a world-class swimming star with a genetic profile said to be secondary to none, but he's been paralyzed in a car accident. ... Jerome buys his identity, uses his DNA—his blood, his hair, his tissue, his urine—to pass the screenings."

  • Wikipedia: "In the not-too-distant future, liberal eugenics is common and DNA plays the primary role in determining social class. ... 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.' ... [Vincent] assumes the identity of Jerome Eugene Morrow, a former swimming star with a genetic profile 'second to none,' who had been injured in a car accident, leaving him paralyzed. ... Vincent 'buys' Jerome's identity and uses his 'valid' DNA in blood, hair, tissue, and urine samples to pass screening."
"Gattaca was a weird topic for a speech in a governor's race to begin with," Maddow said, "but what's weirder is trying to be a candidate for president, which Rand Paul is trying to do, and thinking that you're going to get away with lifting your speeches from Wikipedia while you're doing that."

Rand Paul testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine reevaluating the effectiveness of Federal mandatory minimum sentences, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 18, 2013.
Rand Paul testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine reevaluating the effectiveness of Federal mandatory minimum sentences, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 18, 2013.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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Rachel Maddow catches Rand Paul plagiarizing.   (MSNBC)

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