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Goeglein's resignation a seeming end to meteoric rise

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Goeglein timeline

Jan. 6, 1964: Born in Fort Wayne to Stan and Shirley Goeglein

1976: Host of WANE-TV’s “News for Little People”

October 1979: Started as student producer of “Mikeside” at WOWO radio

1982: Graduated from Paul Harding High School in Fort Wayne

Mid-late 1980s: Attended and graduated Indiana University-Bloomington, studying political science and journalism

1985: Interned for Sen. Dan Quayle in Washington, D.C.

1985: Began writing guest columns for The News-Sentinel

Late 1980s: Worked as deputy press secretary to Sen. Dan Coats and then as his press secretary

2000: Joined George W. Bush’s campaign for president working with “specialty press,” focusing on veterans, ethnic communities and other groups

Jan. 21, 2001: Sworn in as deputy director of the White House’s Office of Public Liaison

Feb. 29, 2008: Blogger and former News-Sentinel columnist Nancy Nall discovers Goeglein had plagiarized portions of a guest column published in The News-Sentinel. Later, the paper’s internal investigation reveals 19 more instances of plagiarism since 2000. A review of earlier columns continues.

Feb. 29: White House announces Goeglein has submitted resignation to the president.

Sources: News-Sentinel archives, Insight magazine

Timothy Goeglein bio

Age: 44

Born: Fort Wayne

Family: Parents Stan and Shirley Goeglein; wife Jenny; two sons Tim and Paul

Education: Indiana University-Bloomington, journalism and political science

Career: Intern to then-Sen. Dan Quayle; deputy press secretary to former Sen. Dan Coats, then becoming Coats’ press secretary; after a stint during the 2000 primary season with Republican Gary Bauer’s media operation, he ran into Karen Hughes, a member of Bush’s “Iron Triangle” of advisers, at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. She told Goeglein she’d like to bring him on board the Bush campaign, and he joined the team at its Austin, Texas, headquarters. There he worked with the “specialty press,” focusing on veterans, ethnic communities and other groups. In 2001, he was then named the deputy director of the Office of Public Liaison where he was responsible for getting the administration’s message across to a number of special-interest groups, including Catholics, evangelical Christians, the defense industry, veterans and the national security community.

Sources: News-Sentinel archives, Insight magazine

Friday, February 29, 2008 - 10:12 pm

Even as a sophomore at Harding High School, Timothy S. Goeglein saw his aspirations being realized on WOWO radio’s “Mikeside,” a Sunday-evening mix of student-produced newscasts and interviews. At Indiana University-Bloomington, he majored in journalism and political science. Since 2001, he has been a White House aide, a liaison to conservatives and Christian groups. Since 1985, he has written guest columns for The News-Sentinel, his hometown paper. Both stints came to an end Friday, after Nancy Nall, a blogger and former News-Sentinel columnist, found Goeglein had plagiarized a column on education published on Thursday’s editorial page.

An internal investigation begun Friday has revealed that since 2000 Goeglein plagiarized 20 of 38 columns The News-Sentinel published. A review of his columns prior to 2000 continues. According to Editor & Publisher, an industry publication, Goeglein also was discovered to have plagiarized in writings published by The Washington Post and The New York Sun. He lifted material without proper attribution from sources including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and New York Sun. He even went as far as to use a quote from Pope John Paul II as his own.

“It was extremely disappointing to learn that many of Tim Goeglein’s guest columns included plagiarized material,” said News-Sentinel Editor Kerry Hubartt. “Our newspaper’s policy has always been that all writers attribute sources of the information they use for publication.”

In multiple e-mails to The New-Sentinel, Goeglein apologized for his actions. “I am more apologetic that you know, and from my heart. Please know how deeply sorry I am,” he wrote to the paper’s Editorial Page Editor Leo Morris.

Nall, reached Friday in Michigan where she now lives, said curiosity prompted her to Google the name of a Dartmouth College professor Goeglein referenced in his column Thursday.

“There was something about that phrase that he dropped. … ‘Eugene Rosenstock-Hussey,’” she said. “There was just something about the way he said it.” And a 30-second Web search turned into a scandal. It wasn’t long after on Friday that Nall posted her findings on her blog at

“I only wanted to mock him,” said Nall, who admitted to criticizing Goeglein over the years. “I didn’t want to hurt him.”

Goeglein wrote guest columns for The News-Sentinel, which did not solicit or pay for them, Hubartt said. Calls to Goeglein seeking comment were not returned on Friday. White House spokesman Blair Jones said the White House learned of the accusations Friday morning.

“This is not acceptable. We are disappointed in Tim’s actions,” he said. Later Friday, in an e-mail sent at 6:34 p.m. by the Office of the Press Secretary, the White House announced Goeglein had submitted his resignation to President Bush.

“The President was disappointed to learn of the matter, and he was saddened for Tim and his family,” the statement read. “He has long appreciated Tim’s service, and he knows him to be a good person who is committed to his country.”

Goeglein worked as a special assistant to Bush and public liaison deputy director whose office promotes presidential priorities through outreach to various groups. He was instrumental in establishing the Bush’s faith-based community initiative and the emergency plan for AIDS relief, according to the statement.

Over the years, Goeglein’s columns for The News-Sentinel covered a wide range of topics, and in the same respect, he plagiarized from a wide range of sources.

“Plagiarism is the highest form of flattery,” said Jonathan Yardley, a Washington Post book critic who had sections of his “Hoagy Carmichael’s Memories, Straight From the Heartland” story lifted for Goeglein’s “Hoagy Carmichael’s songs reflect his deep roots in Bloomington, Indiana” column.

Yardley can put himself in company with the Pope. On April 6, 2005, Roger Cohen wrote in The New York Times: “It was based in the belief that, as he (the Pope) once put it, ‘a degradation, indeed a pulverization, of the fundamental uniqueness of each human being’ was at the root of the mass movements of the 20th century, Communism and Fascism,”

In a column published Oct. 18, 2005, Goeglein wrote: “A degradation and pulverization of the fundamental uniqueness of each human being was at the root of the 20th century, the twin evils of communism and fascism.” No attribution is given to the Pope or to Cohen in the column.

News-Sentinel Editorial Page Editor Leo Morris said writers of guest columns are given a certain level of trust to ensure the information they supply is correct and not plagiarized. “You don’t have the time or the manpower to check everything that comes in,” he said. “If you can’t trust the faith-based assistant to the president, who can you trust?”

The last time the paper documented a case of plagiarism was in 2005 when a freelance writer, in three different stories for the Features section, claimed words that were not his own.

Emily Ford, an English professor at Taylor University-Fort Wayne, called plagiarism a “deadly sin” among writers. “It’s in our profession to be crafting words. … We’re doing the ultimate disservice by pulling words from someone else.”