Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul has been accused of plagiarizing from Wikipedia, using several lines in a recent speech that are virtually identical to part of a summary of the 1997 science fiction movie "Gattaca" that had been posted on the popular web site.
While campaigning Monday at Virginia's Liberty University on behalf of that state's Republican gubernatorial nominee, Ken Cuccinelli, Paul drew a parallel between abortion rights and the use of genetics to eliminate certain types of people from society.
"In the movie 'Gattaca' in the not-too-distant future, eugenics is common, and DNA plays a primary role in determining your social class," Paul said.
The first line of the "Gattaca" plot summary posted on Wikipedia reads: "In 'the not-too-distant future,' eugenics is common, and DNA plays the primary role in determining social class."
In his speech, Paul, a tea party favorite and potential 2016 presidential candidate, continued to reference "Gattaca" by using language nearly identical to the Wikipedia summary.
The alleged plagiarism was first noted Monday night on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show."
On Tuesday, the web site Buzzfeed noted other similarities between a Wikipedia summary of the 1988 movie "Stand and Deliver" and lines from an immigration speech delivered by Paul in June.
Paul brushed off the plagiarism charges this week in an interview with the television network Fusion.
"We borrowed the plot lines from 'Gattaca,'" Paul said. "I gave credit to the people who wrote the movie. Nothing I said was not given attribution to where it came from. .... People are making a mountain out of a molehill."
A spokeswoman for the senator told CNN that Paul never insinuated the quotes in question "were his own thoughts or ideas."
"If the text had been submitted for academic publication, of course it would have been footnoted," Eleanor May said. "Only in Washington is something this trivial a source for liberal media angst."