The recent plagiarism allegations pinned against Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) provided plenty of fodder for Jon Stewart on last night’s episode of The Daily Show. The Kentucky Tea Party senator has recently come under heavy scrutiny for allegedly plagiarizing speeches, portions of his book, “Government Bullies,” and op-ed pieces.
“I think the spoken word shouldn’t be held to the same sort of standard that you have if you’re giving a scientific paper,” said Paul. “Ninety-eight percent of my speeches are extemporaneous. And, so, it is a little bit hard to footnote things accurately.”
Paul makes this statement even he has quoted, word for word, from numerous articles and even Wikipedia posts. During a speech focusing on the government’s role in the country, Paul spoke, word-for-word, from a Wikipedia article about the movie “Gattaca.”
“Alright, I’m going to pretend here that the thing we’re supposed to be concerned about is that Rand Paul is copying from Wikipedia, and not that he’s warning Americans about the role of government by referencing an Ethan Hawke movie,” said Stewart.
“Ninety-eight percent of his speeches are extemporaneous, meaning only two percent of his speeches are plagiarized, and the truth is most of those are just taylor swift lyrics,” Stewart mocked. “But the problem is, is it doesn’t stop with speeches.”
Stewart then cited reports of Paul lifting word-for-word passages from conservative think-tank documents and a Forbes article in his book, “Government Bullies.”
Stewart did allow time to showcase Paul’s retort to the plagiarism allegations.
Paul said that he thinks he’s “being unfairly targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters.” Yes, he used the term “haters.” Stewart then showed a clip from The Rachel Maddow Show where she quoted in a recent New York Times interview with Paul where he said “To tell you the truth, people can think what they want, I can go back to being a doctor anytime, if they’re tired of me. I’ll go back to being a doctor, and I’ll be perfectly content.”
This citation preceded what was the cherry on top of Stewart’s commentary. In satirizing Paul’s statement to the New York Times, Stewart made the senator look like a small child who was kicked out of the clubhouse.
“You know what?! I’ll just, I’ll start my own government, where, you’re allowed to copy off of other people. I’ll start my own country. And, uh, yeah, that’s right. I’ll call it Belgium. I came up with that name. Belgium.”
The Daily Show
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Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.