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CNN "The Situation Room" - Transcript: Plagiarism Allegations And Governor Elections


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SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Good to be with you, Wolf.

BLITZER: I want to get to all these big elections tonight, what they might mean to the country, your political future, but you've got to respond to all of these plagiarism allegations. Your name attached to these speeches, to the book. Obviously there were major mistakes made.

Who is to blame here for these problems? Because verbatim quotes should have been cited, as you well know, but they weren't.

PAUL: You know, ultimately, I'm the boss, and things go out under my name, and so it is my fault. But I would say that people need to also understand that, you know, I never have intentionally ever presented anyone's ideas as my own or tried to pass off anything, you know, it started with a speech I gave where I gave attribution to the novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four", the movie "Gattaca," the autobiography "My Left Foot," Einstein, Ray Bradbury and Michelangelo, among others.

So I felt like boy, I'm giving a lot of sources here for one speech and yet because we don't have everything properly footnoted, people have attacked. And I think really the standard that I'm being held, too, is a little different than anybody else. They've now read every book from cover to cover, and they're looking for places where we footnoted correctly but don't have a quotation marks in the right place or didn't indent.

Did we make mistakes? Yes. 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. 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.

BLITZER: Look, every politician, they have aides who help write speeches and books and articles. What are you going to do, Senator, to make sure this doesn't happen again?

PAUL: We're going to be much more specific and footnote everything as if it were a college paper. I'm working on a speech right now for the Citadel which I'm given portions of it before but we've never footnoted my speeches. Ninety-eight percent of my speeches are extemporaneous and have never had footnotes.

We're now going to footnote everything and make sure it has a reference because I do take this personally, and I don't want to be accused of misrepresenting myself, and I've never intended to do so. But I think we've been slopping and we're going to try to be much more precise in the future.

BLITZER: Let's talk about the election. Let's say -- and everybody believes Chris Christie will win. A moderate Republican. Ken Cuccinelli, a Tea Party favorite in Virginia, it looks like he could lose. If in fact Cuccinelli loses, Chris Christie wins, what does that say about the future of the Republican Party?

PAUL: You know, every individual race is a little bit different, but I think the Republican Party is a big party. And we need moderates like Chris Christie who can win in New Jersey and our party. What that means about the national party, I'm not sure there's an answer. But we do need moderates like Chris Christie in the party. As far as Ken Cuccinelli, I really like him. I campaigned for him. I don't know if he'll win tonight or not. I hope he does. You know, in the last few days, it's gotten narrower because people are really unhappy with Obamacare, and he was one of the leaders. And when he sued, he said one really important thing. He said that if someone chooses not to buy insurance, is that really -- are they committing an act of trade or commerce?

And I think that point was well taken because at the Supreme Court, ultimately they didn't rule on the Interstate Commerce Clause and Ken Cuccinelli, I think, was actually very prescient in saying, it isn't -- you know, Interstate Commerce does not justify this. And actually I think he won that argument on Obamacare.

BLITZER: Is Chris Christie the guy to beat for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016?

PAUL: You know, I think the party in general is more conservative. I think there's room for moderates in the party. I think it will be more difficult, states like Iowa are very conservative. South Carolina is very conservative. New Hampshire, I think, is conservative with a little bit of a libertarian bent.

It's a tough road, but I think we need ideas. And we need a broader party in many ways. So I welcome him to the party and I think he's an important part of it.

BLITZER: Senator Paul, thanks as usual for coming in.

PAUL: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.


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