Image: Scott Brown
Hyungwon Kang  /  Reuters
Senator Scott Brown, R-Mass., speaks during the U.S. Senate Armed Services committee hearing a repeal of section 654 of title 10, United States Code, "Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the Armed Forces" on Capitol Hill, December 3, 2010.
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updated 10/13/2011 12:10:54 PM ET 2011-10-13T16:10:54

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown blamed his staff Thursday for passages about his upbringing on his official Senate website that were lifted word for word from a 2002 speech by former senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Dole.

Brown's spokesman, John Donnelly, said excerpts of the speech were on Dole's website, which aides used as a template for his, and that the passages were transferred inadvertently without being rewritten.

The Democratic group American Bridge, which discovered the matching words, accused the Massachusetts Republican of plagiarism.

"This is just further proof that Scott Brown is not who the people of Massachusetts think he is," Rodell Mollineau, president of American Bridge, said in a written statement. "The fact that he has plagiarized a personal values statement in a message to students really raises questions about just how genuine Scott Brown is."

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Video: Why Massachusetts Senate race could be ugly (on this page)

Donnelly denied any plagiarism, saying it was an innocent mistake by staffers.

"Senator Dole's website served as one of the models for Senator Brown's website when he first took office ... It was a staff level oversight which we regret and has been corrected," Donnelly said in a statement.

The passages were about the values that parents instill in their children.

"I was raised to believe that there are no limits to individual achievement and no excuses to justify indifference," was the message on Brown's website that has since been removed. "From an early age, I was taught that success is measured not in material accumulations, but in service to others. I was encouraged to join causes larger than myself, to pursue positive change through a sense of mission, and to stand up for what I believe."

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Passages from Dole's speech were included in a message to students on her website.

"I am Mary and John Hanford's daughter, raised to believe that there are no limits to individual achievement and no excuses to justify indifference," was the message on Dole's website. "From an early age, I was taught that success is measured, not in material accumulations, but in service to others. I was encouraged to join causes larger than myself, to pursue positive change through a sense of mission, and to stand up for what I believe."

Brian Nick, a spokesman for the former North Carolina senator, said Dole viewed the episode as "an innocent mistake" by staff. Nick said that a lot of Senate offices use generic language from time to time.

Brown, a Republican, is running for re-election in 2012 for the seat long held by the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Recent polls show consumer advocate and Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren as the front-runner for the Democratic nomination to take on Brown. Those polls also show Brown and Warren running roughly even in the blue state.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Why Massachusetts Senate race could be ugly

  1. Closed captioning of: Why Massachusetts Senate race could be ugly

    >>> must read opinion pages. i have two. one about the race in massachusetts and the other about the jeffress moron situation. "new york times" about elizabeth warren and scott brown . a sense of humor is the first casualty of any fiercely fought campaign, and brown vs. warren, if she gets the nomination, will be one of 2012 's fiercest. his victory in the special election in early 2010 not only stunned but galled democrats. a photo genic, inel tyen tyupstart took the seat left vacate by the death of ted kennedy and it could prove decisive in preventing republicans from wresting control of the chamber. both parties will flood the state with money. warren on monday announced an impressive two-month tally of $3.15 million in donations and both parties' candidates will be shoe horned into the election cycles of biting cliche's and conceits whether they fit or not. warren and brown don't at least not neatly.

    >> katty kay , massachusetts is going to be a critical senate battle. probably the most fascinating next year.

    >> yeah, because the republicans if they want to take the senate need to hold on to massachusetts and they think that in scott brown they have what they believe is the perfect candidate. he was always going to be vulnerable. it was always a surprise that a republican took that seat initially. and he's done everything right. but, you know, it is interesting what frank is writing here about the tone. once you have both sides pouring large amounts of money in and they're kind of matched financially you're left with negative attack ads. you're left with character assassinations. i fear we're going to see a lot more of that in this very tightly held seat. you know, class, background, education is all going to be put into play there. and, you know, it's what you've been talking about, more of the kind of depressing type of campaigning and tone than i think we'll see out of massachusetts over the next year rather than the kinds of things that voters really need to hear about.

    >> mika, we read part of the politico column. let's do david brooks because i'm just going to throw the red meat between charles and haas and watch some fighting.

    >> the milk toast radicals. david brooks . the occupy wall street movement may look radical but its members' ideas are less radical than those you might hear at your average rotary club . its members may hate capitalism, a third believe the u.s. is no better than al qaeda according to a "new york" magazine survey but since the left no belonger believes in the nationalization of industry these radicals really have no systemic reforms to fall back on. they are not only small thinkers -- not the only small thinkers. president obama promises not to raise taxes on the bottom 98%. the occupy types celebrate the bottom 99%. republicans promise not to raise taxes on the bottom 100%. through these and other pledges leaders of all three movements are hedging themselves in. they are severely limiting the scope of their proposed solutions. the thing about the current moment is that the moderates in suits are much more radical than the pierced anarchists camping out on wall street or the tea party types. don't be fooled by the cliche's of protest movements past. the most radical people today are the ones that look the most boring. it's not about declaring war on some nefarious elite. it's about changing behavior from top to bottom. let's occupy ourselves.

    >> david brooks revenge. the boring moderates now the revolutionaries. the revolutionaries now small thinkers. charles, what say you?

    >> no, what i will say is this, which is what the wall street protests are about is fairness. will they solve all of america's problems by seeking fairness? absolutely not. will you make up the gap in the budget by making things more fair? absolutely not. but will you give americans back a sense of kind of moral rightness that the system does work for everyone in the same way? and i think that is a very valid thing to protest about. it is very american to do that. i don't think people should write that part of it off.

    >> it's not about fairness to me. it's about populism, whether these people on the left or the tea party on the right. this is a sign of things that are and things to come. this is americans increasingly happy with the status quo. by the way, it's not just americans . we're seeing it all over the world where essentially you have dysfunctional governments. it's about a lot more than fairness actually. i really do think this is a populist outcry.

    >> katty kay , the global view? this is not just america that's protesting.

    >> yeah. one of the things that has surprised me over the last couple years, mika, is actually how long it has taken americans to come out and protest. when you've seen tens of thousands turning out in madrid, the same in athens, the same in paris, it was a long lag before people turned out on the streets here. my only question about what david brooks is writing in his piece today is who are these radicals that he talks about in suits? it doesn't seem to me like anyone is doing anything very radical, certainly not here in washington.

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