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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 01/12/2008

Huckabee's Cut-and-Paste Job

By Michael Dobbs


GOP presidential debate, Myrtle Beach, S.C., Jan. 10, 2008.

"I have created a nine point immigration policy that says there is a 120 day period in which people go to their home country and start the process from the back of the line."

--Mike Huckabee, Republican Debate, Myrtle Beach, S.C., Jan. 10, 2008.

"Huckabee has a new immigration plan out, and it's way, way better than anyone would have expected from him.".

--Mark Krikorian, National Review Online, Dec. 6, 2007.

It is hardly surprising that Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington D.C. thinktank, should approve of Mike Huckabee's new immigration plan. Seven of the nine points in the Huckabee plan were copied, in some cases almost verbatim, from a plan that Krikorian outlined nearly three years ago in the National Review. Rather than hammer out its own immigration policy, the cash-starved Huckabee campaign simply lifted a ready-made one off the shelf.


The Facts

Mike Huckabee needed to come up with an immigration plan in a hurry last month. He was beginning his remarkable ascent in opinion polls, but was under attack from GOP rivals for a "liberal" position on immigration while governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007. His record in Arkansas, supporting in-state tuition breaks for illegal immigrants and opposing a federal roundup of undocumented workers, made him vulnerable to criticism from the right.

When the Huckabee campaign unveiled the governor's nine-point immigration plan on December 6, they noted that it was "partially modeled" on a Krikorian essay three years earlier. But Huckabee took credit for the plan in the Republican debate on Thursday night, and rival Mitt Romney campaign is crying foul. A Romney "Fact Check" said that the Huckabee plan had lifted "whole sections of Krikorian's editorial without quotes or direct attribution."

A detailed comparison of the two plans supports the Romney critique. The Huckabee proposal is virtually identical to the Krikorian proposal, with the exception of two points: Build the Fence and Establish an Economic Border. Huckabee claims that his proposal for a flat rate sales tax, known as the Fair Tax, would create an "economic disincentive" for illegal immigration, by forcing undocumented workers to pay taxes.

Here is an annotated version of the Huckabee "Secure America" plan. I have used a yellow background to show passages that have been copied virtually verbatim from the Krikorian proposal in the National Review, and a red font to mark passages that have been paraphrased.

The Huckabee Plan

1. Build the Fence

  • Ensure that an interlocking surveillance camera system is installed along the border by July 1, 2010.
  • Ensure that the border fence construction is completed by July 1, 2010.
  • 2. Increase Border Patrol

  • Increase the number of border patrol agents.
  • Fully support all law enforcement personnel tasked with enforcing immigration law.
  • 3. Prevent Amnesty

  • Policies that promote or tolerate amnesty will be rejected.
  • Propose to provide all illegal immigrants a 120-day [KRIKORIAN SAYS 90 DAYS] window to register with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and leave the country. Those who register and return to their home country will face no penalty if they later apply to immigrate or visit; those who do not return home will be, when caught, barred from future reentry for a period of 10 years.
  • This is not a "touchback" provision. Those who leave this country and apply to return from their home country would go to the back of the line.

    4. Enforce the Law on Employers

  • Employment is the chief draw for most illegal immigrants and denying them jobs is the centerpiece of an attrition strategy.
  • Impose steep fines and penalties on employers that violate the law.
  • Institute a universal, mandatory citizenship verification system as part of the normal hiring process.
  • Prevent the IRS and the Social Security Administration from accepting fraudulent Social Security numbers or numbers that don't match the employees' names.
  • 5. Establish an Economic Border

  • Move toward passage of the FairTax.
  • The FairTax provides an extra layer of security by creating an economic disincentive to immigrate to the U.S. illegally.
  • 6. Empower Local Authorities

  • Promote better cooperation on enforcement by supporting legislative measures such as the CLEAR Act, which aims to systematize the relationship between local law and federal immigration officials.
  • Encourage immigration-law training for police. Local authorities must be provided the tools, training, and funding they need so local police can turn illegal immigrants over to the federal authorities.
  • 7. Ensure Document Security

  • End exemptions for Mexicans and Canadians to the US-VISIT program, which tracks the arrival and departure of foreign visitors. Since these countries account for the vast majority of foreigners coming here (85 percent), such a policy clearly violates Congress' intent in mandating this check-in/check-out system.
  • Reject Mexico's "matricula consular" card, which functions as an illegal-immigrant identification card.
  • 8. Discourage Dual Citizenship

  • Inform foreign governments when their former citizens become naturalized U.S. citizens.
  • Impose civil and/or criminal penalties on American citizens who illegitimately use their dual status (e.g., using a foreign passport, voting in elections in both a foreign country and the U.S.).
  • 9. Modernize the Process of Legal Immigration

  • Eliminate the visa lottery system and the admission category for adult brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.
  • Increase visas for highly-skilled and highly-educated applicants.
  • Expedite processing for those who serve honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Improve our immigration process so that those patiently and responsibly seeking to come here legally will not have to wait decades to share in the American dream. Governor Huckabee has always been grateful to live in a country that people are trying to break into, rather than break out of.

  • "Please steal my ideas."

    Krikorian expressed no hard feelings about the copying of his words, noting that the Huckabee campaign was a shoe-string operation, "unlike the Romney campaign."

    "That is what think tanks do. We come up with ideas and we hope that someone will steal them."

    Huckabee spokeswoman Kirsten Fedewa said in an e-mail that "major components" of the Huckabee plan, such as "inclusion of the Fair Tax and the 120-day time frame for immigrants to return home", were "all campaign-created. In short, the campaign did not include all of [Kirkorian's] points, amended some of his points, and created some of its own."

    The Pinocchio Test

    In Huckabee's defense, it must be noted that his Web site credits Krikorian for some of his ideas on immigration. On Thursday night, however, he implied that it was his own plan, rather than a hasty cut-and-paste job. Authors usually put quotation marks around phrases they copy from other authors. If the governor had said that he had "created" part of his plan, he would have been correct. Two Pinocchios for less than full disclosure.


    (About our rating scale.)

    By Michael Dobbs  | January 12, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
    Categories:  2 Pinocchios, Candidate Watch, Immigration  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: GOP Debate Myrtle beach
    Next: Mitt's Memory Lapse

    Comments

    So in your view, the entire problem is that he said "created" rather than "proposed?"

    It's hard to see how that constitutes dishonesty on Huckabee's part.

    Candidates almost never literally "create" their own proposals. They're almost always written by advisors, often based on very large part on think tank proposals. As Krikorian said, this is what think tanks do.

    Posted by: Economists for Obama | January 12, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

    At UNC-Chapel Hill this would be considered deliberate and egregious plagiarism and Mr. Huckabee would be suspended for at least one academic semester. However, since the MSM wants him to win the nomination so badly so the Democrats will be guaranteed to win the election, very few people will even hear about this story.

    Posted by: College Student | January 12, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

    Talk about intellectual prostitution. Sure think tanks want their ideas and theories out there but just like anyone else they would like to be cited and given credit for their intellectual work. By claiming to have "created" a plan that verbatim takes concepts from another source and claiming them as your own fulfills plagiarism basic tenets. If they lie about something like this what is to stop them from lying about something really important... Just a thought..

    Posted by: Tyler K | January 12, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

    If you were in the hot seat, I'm sure you would make a mistake or two like this.

    This just shows the desperation of the anti-Huck crowd, that they will nitpick on a slip-up or a poor choice of words.

    Huck has attributed it before, so it's not like he didn't give credit. Does he have to mention Krikorian's name every time he talks about his plan? Especially since Krikorian himself doesn't seem to mind.

    Posted by: Allen Fuller | January 12, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

    I sure we can expect more mistakes, this is a man whose only higher education degree is religion....

    Posted by: Anonymous | January 12, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

    We all have heard about Romney's dog on top on the car... Have you heard about Huckabee's Son hanging a dog and Huckabee using his position to make sure he has is do not have any charges... Read Newsweek...

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/78241

    Posted by: Anonymous | January 12, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

    Slow news day, I guess.

    Posted by: Chris B. | January 12, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

    Gov. Huckabee's website cites Mark Krikorian's research as a resource used in creating the plan. Do your d.d. before writing an article. Hilarious how ignorant writers can be.

    Good night. Thanks for the laugh.

    Posted by: Paul | January 13, 2008 1:26 AM | Report abuse

    hmm..."120 days to register and leave the US. What's the advantage to us or them of registering? The explanation they can reenter without penalty once given a visa makes no sense, because the same is true if they just leave. Only if you stay and get caught will you be denied entry for 10 years, which is less than the average wait! Why would illegals not just stay and take their chances, same as now? Where's the reward in their leaving? [Should this be the wrong thread for such questions, sorry and never mind :)

    Posted by: jhbyer | January 13, 2008 2:31 AM | Report abuse

    A higher education in religion is merely a lower form of ignorance.

    Posted by: jhbyer | January 13, 2008 2:50 AM | Report abuse

    The keyword here is "verbatim". Whoever Huckabee gave this assignment to, should have spent a lot more time working on it. It looks like he put a few hours into something that he should have put at least 4 or 5 hours on. Anyone in that amount of time could have reworked the policy report so that it was similar to the origional without being "verbatim".

    Posted by: JohnR | January 13, 2008 3:17 AM | Report abuse

    JohnR, you're right. Considering immigration has ranked tops among concerns of Republicans, you have to marvel st the lack of effort shown in lifting wholesale a plan that, even so, looks hastily assembled and unresearched.

    Posted by: jhbyer | January 13, 2008 6:19 AM | Report abuse

    In his first run for president, Biden was hounded for plagiarism for not attributing part of a speech to Kinnock--and that was in just one speech, one time. The other times he had credited Kinnock.

    The immigration plan should have used quote marks, the plan should have credited the source right below the plan, and Huckabee and his campaign should not anywhere state that it is their plan or that they created it. They can say propose, but should add that they propose adopting the plan put forth by X.

    Don't get us started on Huckabee's failure to admit to having, overall, raised taxes in Arkanses. I think he was right to do it, he just admit it! Straight Talk indeed! :-)

    Posted by: Paul | January 13, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

    Slow news day, indeed.

    I am no fan of Mr. Huckabee but shouldn't we applaud a politician who accepts ideas beyond those from his immediate circle? A populist is one who listens and incorporates suggestions into his platform; isn't Mr. Huckabee such a politician?

    Sir, don't miss the forest for the trees.

    Posted by: shiraw | January 13, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

    Paul, very well said. In candidates, no quality is more important than honesty.

    Posted by: jhbyer | January 13, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

    Isn't the silly Fair Tax idea attributed to Huckabee an idea actually trumpeted by some anti-IRS group? Is Huckabee a fraud or just incompetent?

    Huckabee is cobbling together or making up a campaign as he goes along. His 'foreign policy advisor' has never talked to him. Does he have anyone advising him besides Chuck Norris and his wife?

    If the Republicans want to nominate a 'nice guy' or 'someone like themselves' they had better start getting to use to the idea of the Hill and Bill Show for another 8 years and 3-4 liberal Supreme Court now. Any time someone mindlessly throws away their vote to 'make a statement' or 'to send a message' they waste their vote.

    Posted by: madjayhawk | January 13, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

    jhbyer:

    "A higher education in religion is merely a lower form of ignorance."

    I certainly hope the eventual Democratic nominee uses THAT line during his / her debates with Huckabee ; )

    Posted by: JakeD | January 13, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

    Mike Huckabee took a swipe at Romney in a television ad.
    "I believe most Americans want their next president to remind them of the guy they worked with, not the guy who laid them off."
    Someone needs to inform Mike Huckabee how soundless and ridiculous his claim that Mitt Romney fired people from the companies his helped develop with investment seed money. Mitt Romney's Bain Capital business performance and success really shows the contrast to Mike Huckabees innuendo of him being a hatchet man vs. one who actually created thousands of jobs. The typical career politician's mentality negates their ability to comprehend or understand how the world of business really works. Below is a list of a few companies that Bain Capital helped grow into giants of their respective markets. This information is common knowledge and accessible to anyone really wanting to understand the truth!
    Bain Capital LLC is a Boston, Massachusetts-based private equity firm founded in 1984 by Mitt Romney. One of the fund's first start-up investments was Staples. Bain Capital founded, acquired or invested in hundreds of companies including Bright Horizons Family Solutions, Brookstone, Domino's Pizza, Sealy, Guitar Center and The Sports Authority.

    Staples, Inc. NASDAQ: SPLSis the world's largest office supply retail store chain, with over 1,962 stores worldwide, including stores in the United States, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and India.
    Staples Inc.
    2007 Sales (mil.) $18,160.8
    2007 Employees 73,646

    Bright Horizons Family Solutions is a US-based child-care provider and has been noted as one of the largest publicly held child-care corporations in the world.
    Bright Horizons Family Solutions
    2006 Sales (mil.) $697.9
    2006 Employees 18,000

    Brookstone is a chain of retail stores in the United States.
    Brookstone
    2006 Sales (mil.) $511.9
    2006 Employees 3,278

    Domino's Pizza, LLC (NYSE: DPZ) (LSE: DOM) is an international pizza delivery corporation headquartered just outside Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. It was founded by Tom Monaghan in 1960. As of 2006, it had 8,000 corporate and franchised stores in more than 54 countries[1]. It was the second-largest pizza chain in the United States when it went public in 2004 for just under $15 a share

    Domino's
    2006 Sales (mil.) $1,437.3
    2006 Employees13,300

    Sealy Corporation (NYSE: ZZ is a major mattress manufacturer. The company draws its name from the city where it started, Sealy, Texas.
    Sealy
    2006 Sales (mil.) $1,582.8
    2006 Employees 6,233

    Guitar Center is the largest chain of musical instrument retailers in the world and is located throughout the United States. Its headquarters is in Westlake Village, California.

    Guitar Center
    2006 Sales (mil.) $2,030.0
    2006 Employees 370

    Sports Authority is the USA's largest full line sporting goods retailer. The company is headquartered in Englewood, Colorado. It operates over 400 stores in 45 U.S. states under the Sports Authority name. Total sales for the fiscal year ending January 29, 2005 were $2.44 billion.
    Sports Authority
    2007 Sales (mil.) $2,740.0 (est.)
    2007 Employees 14,586

    Posted by: Km | January 13, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

    Who are you trying to kid? All the candidates get ideas from think tanks. Hurray for think tanks! Nothing else better to write about today, Washington Post??

    Posted by: ryanflypost | January 13, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

    "In Huckabee's defense, it must be noted that his Web site credits Krikorian for some of his ideas on immigration."

    "Krikorian expressed no hard feelings about the copying of his words, noting that the Huckabee campaign was a shoe-string operation, "unlike the Romney campaign."

    "That is what think tanks do. We come up with ideas and we hope that someone will steal them."

    Krikorian was noted by Mike, there was nothing to hide. Mitt Romney is paying millions of dollars to try and discredit Huckabee.

    All we have to do is vote against Romney to stop his childish games.

    Vote for anyone but the guy who is trying to buy America with money from greedy rich super-power corporations who will benefit by hi Presidency. DO NOT VOTE FOR MITT ROMNEY. He is spending millions to shut us up and to take our voice from us he is dirty.

    Posted by: marinepatriot | January 13, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

    "In Huckabee's defense, it must be noted that his Web site credits Krikorian for some of his ideas on immigration."

    "Krikorian expressed no hard feelings about the copying of his words, noting that the Huckabee campaign was a shoe-string operation, "unlike the Romney campaign."

    "That is what think tanks do. We come up with ideas and we hope that someone will steal them."

    Krikorian was noted by Mike, there was nothing to hide. Mitt Romney is paying millions of dollars to try and discredit Huckabee.

    All we have to do is vote against Romney to stop his childish games.

    Vote for anyone but the guy who is trying to buy America with money from greedy rich super-power corporations who will benefit by hi Presidency. DO NOT VOTE FOR MITT ROMNEY. He is spending millions to shut us up and to take our voice from us he is dirty.

    Posted by: marinepatriot | January 13, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

    this story dose bring up one important question.how much do we want our candidates to be policy wonks? to put is simply do we want a bureaucratic in chef or a commander in chef? this to me is the mane debate going on in both party's at this point in time.

    Posted by: tallone1986 | January 14, 2008 6:38 AM | Report abuse

    This was a very good column. Immigration is a complex issue, and it needs to be dealt with in detail like it was here. The use of different fonts was particularly elucidating, and not something that could be done in regular newsprint.

    I love how it led to comments promoting opposing conspiracy theories. If Dobbs/WaPo/the MSM really had it in for Huckabee, it would have been above the fold of a major paper or two, or it would have at least earned more pinnocchios. If Dobbs/WaPo/the MSM reall wanted Huckabee to be the GOP nominee, why would the subject come up at all?

    Posted by: angrydoug1 | January 14, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

    I'm not concerned about the plagiarism. I am concerned that a man who has been at least thinking about running for President for over a year, didn't take one of the top issues very seriously. The illegal immigration issue is a national security issue. Fred Thompson's plan is well thought out and detailed. Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo gave the issue a lot of time and effort as well. My concern is that Huckabee didn't. The "shoe string" comment is meaningless. It does not cost money to come up with a plan. It takes interest, knowledge, and dedicated effort.

    Posted by: Steve Smith | January 15, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

    Plagiarism seems to be more common now than ever. However, commonality doesn't make it OK to do it. Biden paid the price for his oversight and withdrew from the democratic race held several years ago. In the past I've heard religious speakers on the radio and was so impressed with what they were saying that I asked for a copy of the talk. When I received the hard copy it always had the quotes and references of the part that originated from someone else. This was often done so as not to break the thought in the message with the credits. However, the hard copy always gave credit to the originator. It is so simple to put the quotation marks on a hard copy and intellectually dishonest not to.

    Posted by: J Purrington | January 15, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

    I met Mike Huckabee when he came to our church in about 1998 (Kent, Washington). He was still quite heavy at that time. Like Huck, I too had fallen for Wayne Dumond's fraudulent DNA defense. Like Huck, I too am a quasi-populist who refuses to kow-tow to drive-by media's hatred of all Islamic people on the grounds that they are hopeless medievalists and revenge-minded by culture, therefore incapable of ever embracing pluralristic democracy or modernism. Partly I arrived at other conclusions by meeting people here in highly pluralistic Kent, WA, who are of Iraqi or Iranian heritage.

    Moslem people are not incapable of democracy or modernism. They need a chance. The illegal Mexican problem actually more difficult because I work in law enforcement and am so damned tired of Jose who one week drives drunk, without license or insurance, one week, then is ordered to treatment, then is deported, then turns up next month under new name accused of domestic violence and, oh yes, driving without a license again. By November I am sure Democrats will be trying to have him vote under one of his fraudulent driver licenses, and damn the felony convictions under all his other names! I know rank-and-file Democrats mad as hell about this and about the employment implications but their own party ignores their views on this issue.

    Posted by: michael L. Cook | January 16, 2008 1:10 AM | Report abuse

    Steve Smith: "I am concerned that a man who has been at least thinking about running for President for over a year, didn't take one of the top issues very seriously. The illegal immigration issue is a national security issue. Fred Thompson's plan is well thought out and detailed."

    Mr. Smith, you are so right -- Millions of us have been concerned about illegal immigration for years. Did Huckabee's eyes just open within the past few weeks? Fred Thompson's written, detailed immigration Plan has been posted to his website for months for all to scrutinize. And the critics wonder if Fred is really serious about his campaign! I think it's Huckabee who isn't really serious; or, could it be that, intellectually, he isn't up to the task?
    Because this story is about Immigration, I won't tout all of Fred's other Plans. But, serious voters would benefit greatly by reading them at his website.

    Posted by: Linda D in Nevada | January 16, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

    Oh Please! Who gives a damn whether he cited or not...many of you sound like struggling college students...

    BOTTOM LINE: THIS IS OUR COUNTRY AND WE HAVE A RIGHT, NOT ILLEGALS, TO DECIDE WHO WE WANT IN OUR COUNTRY...WHAT MOST OF YOU SHOULD DO IS TO QUESTION THE AUTHORITY OF THE WASHININGTON POST IN THEIR INSANSE DEFENSE OF CRIMINALS, NOT QUESTIONG WHETHER OR NOT HUCKABEE STOLE IDEAS FROM THE CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES.

    IF IT SOUNDS LIKE I'M SHOUTING I AM!

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