UPDATED: White House Plagiarist Quits

By: E&P Staff

Timothy S. Goeglein, a White House aide and President Bush’s chief liaison to religious groups, has admitted to plagiarizing a column he wrote for his hometown paper, the Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel.

Late today the White House released this statement: “Tim Goeglein has loyally served President Bush for over seven years and worked tirelessly on his behalf to promote the President’s policies. Among his contributions, Tim helped establish the President’s Faith-Based and Community Initiative, and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. He also played an important role in the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito.

“Today, Tim accepted responsibility for the columns published under his name in his local newspaper, and has apologized for not upholding the standards expected by the President. The President was disappointed to learn of the matter, and he was saddened for Tim and his family. He has long appreciated Tim’s service, and he knows him to be a good person who is committed to his country. President Bush accepted Tim’s resignation today.”

The problem was: More examples had been identified at The Washington Post and New York Sun, with further searches (including at the News-Sentinel) just starting. As recently as Wednesday, Goeglein wrote a tribute to the late William F. Buckley for the National Review site.

The original lengthy copying was found by a blogger. Critics are already joking that his name sounds an awful lot like “googling.”

Goeglein worked closely with Karl Rove during the ’04 election, and was Bush’s chief emissary to conservative groups.

“His behavior is not acceptable and we are disappointed in Tim’s actions,” White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore said earlier today. “He is offering no excuses and he agrees it was wrong.”

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported today: “A Fort Wayne native and White House official acknowledged Friday he copied large portions of an essay that appeared in a Dartmouth College publication and presented them as his own in a News-Sentinel column. ‘It is true,’ Tim Goeglein wrote to The Journal Gazette in an email. ‘I am entirely at fault. It was wrong of me. There are no excuses.’

“Nancy Nall, a former News-Sentinel columnist who writes a blog from her home in Michigan, detailed the nearly word-for-word similarities of eight paragraphs of Goeglein’s 16-paragraph essay about college education, which appeared in the News-Sentinel Thursday, and [Jeffrey] Hart’s column, which was written about a decade ago.

“Kerry Hubartt, editor of the News-Sentinel, said his newspaper learned of the apparent plagiarism Friday when Nall wrote about it. He said the newspaper had removed Goeglein’s column from its web site and that editors were checking Goeglein’s past columns for any other examples of copying. . . .”

Hubartt has now revealed that Goeglein “has apologized to the editors of The News-Sentinel and also said there may be other previous columns he has written for The News-Sentinel that also may contain plagiarized material. We have found material in at least two other previous guest columns lifted from other sources without attribution and are continuing to check other previous submissions.”

Dan Froomkin at washingtonpost.com now reports: “Since then, one of her [Nall’s] readers found passages in Goeglein’s Nov. 5 column about Hoagy Carmichael that appears lifted from a Jonathan Yardley essay published in The Washington Post on Sept. 3.

“Another reader found Goeglein’s July 23 column on John Wayne’s centenary containing passages from an article by Bruce Bennett published in the New York Sun on June 20. That same reader then found similarities between Goeglein’s July 5 column and an article by Robert R. Reilly published in Crisis Magazine on June 13.”

Here is an except from a New York Times profile by David Kirkpatrick on June 28, 2004. Goeglein’s favorite phrase, it turns out, is “I really do mean this.”

Karl Rove, the president’s top political strategist, is famous in well-connected Washington for his tireless round of telephone calls and personal contacts with influential conservatives around the country. But even Mr. Rove has his limits ? calls he cannot make, hands he cannot shake and meetings he cannot attend. For those, he has Timothy Goeglein.

When opponents of abortion were holding a rally on Mr. Bush’s first day in office, for example, Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, called Mr. Goeglein from below the speakers’ platform to press the White House for a statement of support. Within an hour, Mr. Brownback received a call with a vow that Mr. Bush would cancel federal support for international groups that provide or advise abortion, a break from the president’s delicate approach to the issue during his campaign.

Mr. Goeglein, a slender, pink-cheeked 40-year-old Midwesterner who looks about half his age, is the official White House liaison to conservatives and to Christian groups. He is Mr. Rove’s legman on the right. “He is a constant set of eyes and ears,” said Edwin J. Feulner, president of the Heritage Foundation. Mr. Feulner said he saw Mr. Goeglein two or three times a week at meals, meetings or social events. “If I have a message I want to get to Rove or the administration, I will scribble out a note to Tim, and within 24 hours I will get a response back. For lots of things, he is sort of one-stop shopping for a point of access to the administration.”

Christian conservatives, in particular, say that Mr. Goeglein (pronounced GAIG-line) has been an important conduit to the White House for their demands that Mr. Bush stop financing family planning groups that support abortion, heavily publicize a signing of anti-abortion legislation, block stem-cell research and oppose same-sex marriage – all calls that the president has heeded….

In an interview in a briefing room near his office in the Old Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House, Mr. Goeglein – an earnest speaker who punctuates his conversation with the phrase “and I really do mean this” – insisted that his job was to convey information to and from the whole administration, not just his boss, Mr. Rove. “The wonderful thing for me is that I recognize each and every day that I work for the president of the United States, the president of all the people, not some.”

But conservatives outside the White House say they view Mr. Goeglein mainly as an extension of Mr. Rove. And stalwarts of the right say that, even as some conservatives have grown sharply critical of the administration’s spending or of the war in Iraq, his function as a hot line to the White House helps keep the Bush administration more closely allied with their movement than any previous administration has been.

Mr. Goeglein majored in journalism and English at Indiana University. But after interning for Senator Dan Quayle, he fell into politics, first working as a spokesman for Senator Daniel R. Coats of Indiana, a champion of conservative Christian causes. In 2000, Mr. Goeglein was the spokesman for Gary L. Bauer in his Christian conservative campaign against Mr. Bush for the Republican presidential nomination.

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