Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) didn’t have an especially good week. A day after he voted to kill a popular jobs bill, Brown’s website was found to have plagiarized a speech Elizabeth Dole delivered nearly a decade ago. In this case, the senator’s office lifted verbatim a large section of text about his upbringing, which turned out to be about Dole’s upbringing.
Brown initially blamed a summer intern for a technical mix-up, arguing that Dole’s website had served as a template for his own, and this was an inadvertent holdover. This did not explain, however, why two sentences from Dole’s speech — one about her parents’ names, and one about her husband — had been carefully removed from the copy-and-paste job.
Making matters slightly worse, a one-day story turned into a three-day story when Brown’s version of events drew scrutiny.
Marcie Kinzel, a spokeswoman for Brown, told Reuters on Thursday that the senator’s website hasn’t been updated since around Feb. 2010 when her boss took office.
One Democratic source told POLITICO that this timeline clearly doesn’t match up with the senator’s claims, since February would have been “well before any ‘summer intern’ would have been onboard.”
“It seems Sen. Brown’s office is so busy trying to cover their tracks that they forgot to get their story straight before talking to the press,” the source said.
Remember, when we talk about Brown’s strengths as a politician, we talk about his likability and authenticity. No one is especially impressed with the senator’s inability to grasp public policy; Brown excels by way of his personality. But these qualities have taken a hit recently, first with a cheap shot at Elizabeth Warren’s appearance, and now with this flap over Brown’s memories that turned out to be someone else’s memories.
Just to twist the knife a bit, American Bridge 21st Century, which uncovered the plagiarism story, put together this clip showing media coverage of Brown’s bad week. If you’re a fan of the senator, you might want to look away.