Earlier this week BuzzFeed reported that presidential candidate Rand Paul might have some explaining to do regarding some Founding Father quotes in his newest book, Our Presidents & Their Prayers: Proclamations of Faith by America’s Leaders.
BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski and Megan Apper wrote an open letter to Paul, claiming that many of the quotes in chapters on the Founding Fathers were either misattributed or completely debunked. The letter ends:
“This is where we stopped checking. You did a chapter on every president and we don’t have the time to check them all.”
Paul’s publisher, Hachette Book Group, defended him, telling BuzzFeed:
“Nothing here is “made-up” or otherwise manufactured. They are documented, even if the original account is disputed.
“There are a handful of quotes that are debated by historians and academics, and many more that liberals desperately wish were not true. Sources are properly cited and most are older than those rejecting their veracity.”
But this isn’t the first time the junior senator from Kentucky has been accused of bad research.
BuzzFeed also noted inconsistent founding fathers quotes in Paul’s first two books, and fake Patrick Henry quotes in his speeches.
And in 2013, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow caught Paul plainly plagiarizing speeches from Wikipedia. He later went on to say that it was a staffer’s mistake.
But this time, Senator Paul isn’t going down without a fight.
In an interview with The Washington Post‘s Dave Weigel, Paul was frank:
“That guy,” Paul said dismissively, referring to Kaczynski. “The only criticisms have come from some guy who’s a partisan. We discount partisans. However, there’s a ridiculous cottage industry out there of people who think they’re smarter than everyone else, and because certain quotes are disputed – well, yeah! If you want to say something’s not a Thomas Jefferson quote, you can get a whole book on whether it’s a quote or not.”
“I mean, this idiot says the same thing about my speeches,” Paul said. “Do I need to say in my speech, ‘as many people attribute to Thomas Jefferson, but some people dispute,’ before I give the quote? It’s idiocy, it’s pedantry – it’s ridiculous stuff from partisan hacks. And I’d say that guy’s one of ‘em.”
He added that Kaczynski wasn’t on his “good list”.