Thomas Roberts   |  November 06, 2013

Rand Paul plays the blame game

Sen. Rand Paul, who's facing plagiarism accusations, finally admits mistakes have been made-but not intentionally. Zerlina Maxwell, Michael Tomasky, and Igor Volsky discuss.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> our agenda panel, zer liena maximum vel, michael tomasky and igor vols volsky, good to see all of you. let's start with rand paul , the kentucky senator accused of plagiarizing material for speeches and writings now telling "the new york times," quote, we have made some mistakes but never said that those mistakes have been intentional. he went on to say what we are going to do from here forward if it will make people leave me the hell alone, his words not mine, is we're going to do them like college papers. we're going to try to put out footnotes. that's the latest accusation involving lifting material for a september 20th op-ed in the " washington times ." the newspaper has now cancelled the senator's column. zerlina maxwell, let me start with you. is this a big deal or much ado about nothing?

>> no, this is a big deal . we're used to plagiarism or accusations of plagiarism when you're in high school . particularly from wikipedia. expect it from somebody in high school or in college and not somebody who's a sitting senator. he needs to do better than this. it's unacceptable to be caught copying. if he wasn't caught, he would probably continue to do it.

>> and then he threw his staff under the bus as well, mike. senator paul blaming his heavy workload, lashing out at his critics telling "the new york times," quote, this is coming from haters to begin with because they want the implication to be out there that you're dishonest. that's again what he's telling "the new york times." michael, what could all of this mean for senator paul , especially if he wants to run for president in 2016 ?

>> well, in terms of getting the republican nomination or trying to get the republican nomination, craig , it probably helps him because it's -- as far as those voters are concerned, it's just another witch hunt of a tea party icon by the liberal mainstream media . and so paul , of course, is going to be defiant and use phrases like "leave me the hell alone" and so on. that's how he's got to play it. he's got to play it to that base and they're going to defend him up and down as far as this goes. if he actually made it to the general election , it would be maybe another matter.

>> let's turn to toronto mayor rob ford 's stunning admission yesterday for folks who have not seen or read about this. after months of denials, after toronto police said last week they have got a tape of him doing it, the mayor in probably the most bizarre news conference that we've seen in some time admitted he did in fact smoke crack.

>> yes, i have smoked crack cocaine . but no -- do i? am i an addict? no. have i tried it? probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago.

>> is toronto 's mayor rob ford the new marion barry ? cocaine possession is a criminal offense in canada, it can be punishable by prison time, but so far mayor ford has not been charged with a crime. he also insists he is not going to be resigning. there's no vehicle to remove him from office in toronto . what's next?

>> it's shocking because it looks like he's going to win re-election. he's running and he has this hard core base of supporters. these people who are with him all the way who kind of like the ran paul situation view government very conceskeptically and buy into the message you need to get the government off your back and they view this as an activity that shouldn't be regulated by the government. politically at least for now it looks like he can move forward.

>> that was your article we just referenced in the grio. you know, there are folks who have said that the actual worst part of this was the telling of the lie and the continuing to tell the lie and now he comes out and again, any time you have to admit that you smoked crack at some point, that's a bad day at the office.

>> that's not a good day for you.

>> that's a bad day at the office.

>> in my piece one of the things i wanted to make clear is this is not marion barry 2.0. marion barry was charged and sentenced to prison, so he's actually spent time in federal prison and was held accountable by the law for his illegal actions. rob ford is still in office and admitting to doing something illegal but he's still the mayor, which is something that is unbelievable to me. also i think if you're looking at the bigger picture, in michigan last week, they passed a series of bills that drug tests -- people applying for unemployment insurance . they take away your unemployment benefits if you test positive for drugs, but you can be mayor but can't get unemployment that you paid into the system and you want to get back? that's ridiculous.

>> it's also important to note that many would contend that marion barry was entrapped. if you haven't seen the documentary, i would encourage you to watch the nine lives of marion barry . an here's the other part of this, michael tomasky and i know you want to talk about the canadian mayor smoking crack , but the excuse, the drunken stupor excuse was -- i found that to be just as surprising as the admission itself. i did it, i smoked crack, but i was so -- i was in one of my drunken stupors.

>> it took me back to college, craig , because when you're in college, i was drunk is a plausible excuse for a lot of things, and your friends will probably accept that. but, dude, you're not in college anymore. you're the mayor of the fourth largest city in north america . grow up a little.

>> a lot of folks forget that. we're not talking about a podunk town.

>>> before you get out of here i want to get your reaction to what we saw last night. first of all, governor christie 's big win in new jersey, terry mcauliffe 's not as big a win in the commonwealth. igor , let me start with you. have we made too much of the christie win in the garden state ?

>> well, craig , i think the real headline here is the win for obama care. christie wants to expand medicaid under obama care. in virginia, you have really the loudest opponent of obama care defeat, go down to defeat, and now that state might also expand medicaid. so if virginia is kind of the national bellwether for politics, and i think it bodes well for obama care, particularly if those exchanges start working.

>> michael, "the daily beast " called it revenge of the rhinos for chris christie , but there are going to be a number of obstacles, a number of hurdles that a chris christie would have to jump if he is going to be the gop nominee in 2016 .

>> yeah, he's very conservative. nobody should be mistaken about that. but he's not really tea party . you know, emotionally and so forth. so he -- he is going to be in the middle of that brawl if he becomes the establishment candidate. two other things, though, from new jersey. the exit poll result that showed him still losing to hillary clinton 48-44 even while racking up this huge victory i think is problematic for him and also the minimum wage increase passed in new jersey with 61% of the vote. that's not a very christie -like vote either.

>> that's a great spot to leave it. always great to see you. michael tomasky , zerlina maxwell and igor volsky. today's agenda panel, thank you. you can find more from our agenda panel on our website,