Rand Paul gets challenged on his facts!


Discovering the 25-year-old intern: According to Rand Paul, women are doing extremely well in certain areas. On Meet the Press, he cited a set of statistics in support of this general point:
PAUL (1/26/14): You know, I think we have a lot of debates in Washington that get dumbed down and are used for political purposes. This whole sort of war on women thing, I'm scratching my head because if there was a war on women, I think they won.

You know, the women in my family are incredibly successful. I have a niece at Cornell vet school, and 85 percent of the young people there are women. In law school, 60 percent are women. In med school, 55 percent. My younger sister is an OB-GYN with six kids and doing great. You know, I don't see so much that women are downtrodden; I see women rising up and doing great things. And in fact, I worry about our young men sometimes because I think that women really are out-competing the men in our world.

GREGORY: But my question about whether you think it's appropriate for the party, key figures in the party, to be talking about women, women's health, women's bodies and the role of federal government related to those things.

SEN. PAUL: I try never to have questions of anatomy unless I'm at a medical conference. But what I would say is that we didn't start this sort of I think glossy and sometimes dumbed-down debate about, you know, there being a “war on women.” I think the facts show that women are doing very well, have come a long way.
In certain basic ways, Paul echoed an ongoing discussion about the relative lack of success of boys and young men in school.

Paul rattled a set of statistics about women’s predominance in certain graduate schools. Not long ago, Paul swore that he would be footnoting all his facts.

But oh-oh! Last night, on Special Report, Charles Lane said his statistics were wrong:
BAIER (1/27/14): Chuck, your thoughts?

LANE: I thought Rand Paul was kind of rambling there, not only in the sense that Charles talks about, but another point which you didn't show, he starts saying the whole war on women is a myth. Women are winning. And then he states a whole bunch of statistics, you know, that 60 percent of the people in law school are women. That isn't true. It's 48 percent according to the American Bar Association.

He says 55 percent of the people in medical school are women. That isn't true. It's 47 percent, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges.

He said Monica Lewinsky was only 20 years old when all this happened. No, she was 25.

In other words, I watched that interview, and I said to myself, “Does Rand Paul even know what he's talking about?” Yet, he began by saying we have a dumbed down debate about the war on women where people ignore the facts. And then proceeded to launch into a string of erroneous factual mistakes.
Look who’s talking! Where did Lane ever get the idea that Monica Lewinsky was 25 "when all this happened?"

We can’t nail down the law school and med school statistics, although it looks like Paul was wrong. But we never cease to marvel about these all-star pundits.

Lane has had many years to get straight on Lewinsky’s age. In fact, she was 22—almost 22 and a half!—when her affair with The Big He started.

She was not a 21-year-old intern, as so many hacks agreed to say for so long. But eighteen years later, Lane suddenly says she was 25!

As we’ve asked so many times:

Where do these puzzling life forms come from? Can they truly be human?


  1. "Used to Love this Blog"January 28, 2014 at 1:23 PM

    Mentioning it at all proves that you're worse than they are.

  2. Or maybe the blogger could just shut up and not say anything.

  3. Very eager to read Bob's book, "How He Got There." Any idea when it will be completed and ready for the public?

  4. it seems to me that somerbys complaint about the lewinsky age error pales by comparison to rand pauls much more substantive mistakes on the gender breakdown of professional schools student body.

    charles lanes stats square with the following source:


    law school total enrollment: women (rounded) 47%
    men (rounded) 53%.
    (scroll to page 4, middle graph)


    >>> and charles lane seems to be correct with regard to the medical school gender breakdown:

    “As in past years, the total number of men and women applying to and enrolling in medical school is fairly evenly split, with men accounting for approximately 53 percent and women for 47 percent of enrollees in the 2013 class.“


  5. Replies
    1. Clearly she has been 25 at some point in her past. The key is specifying exactly when. "When all this started" is too vague. She was 22 when she started her liaison with Clinton. She was not still 22 during the impeachment hearings. When exactly are you talking about with your comment?

    2. She is forty now. If she writes an op-ed is that to old for Bob to call her a youngish scribe?

  6. Back before women entered the workforce in large numbers, publishers and networks used to hire college-educated women as fact-checkers and researchers. They vetted the scripts for programs by looking up quotes and data cited. They were very smart and very good at this, but not well paid (being women) and not expected to remain on the job past marriage.

    Now such women do not take jobs in publishing or with the networks. They go on to graduate school and they pursue careers and they make more money and continue working after marriage and with kids. They have options and thus publishers and networks would have to pay women more to take such jobs, provide a real career path (with opportunities for advancement) in order to compete with other choices. They decided not to do that. All of us can remember when they stopped copy editing books (because they began to be full of typos and other errors). It is routine now to see misspelled words on the chyron during the nightly news. Interns haven't filled the gap because even interns expect to be given something more meaningful to do than checking other people's work for mistakes.

    You might expect that a journalist or write with integrity would step up and check his or her own material, but that has not happened. Instead we are expected to tolerate a level of sloppiness, to pretend it isn't happening and that it is not the responsibility of those making the errors.

    Women's work has always mattered. When the economy has to pay for it, the true cost becomes apparent. Here the cost is to rationality and clear communication, not just dollars in pocket or time spent. Women were never thanked for such work, but I suppose it is a kind of back-handed thanks that people have been noticing the absence of their contribution now that they are no longer employed in such jobs.

    The teaching profession has suffered from the same talent drain but has been able to compete by offering better salaries and working conditions and the reward of helping children. Even so, reformers wish to starve our schools of educated faculty by making such employment less desirable than other choices. That strikes me as very foolish. Women are still more willing to sacrifice pay for job satisfaction and flexible working conditions, but when that equalizes, who will teach? Will we have to learn to tolerate having undereducated kids and an error-ridden workforce? I hope not, but that is how things are trending, in my opinion.

  7. The percentages of professional school enrollees are material; Lewinsky's age - as 22 vs 25 - is not. Lewinsky appears to have been 22-24 when the incidents happened. How old was she when the blue dress incident happened? How silly is it to argue about that?

    1. I think the worst thing that happened was Lucianne Goldberg's illegal taping of the conversation she had with Lewinsky where Lewinsky mentioned the blue dress. That is a violation of trust as well as law. I think Lewinsky was a victim, especially since given her age she might not have suspected the ulterior motives of the woman she was confiding in. That was the biggest betrayal of trust in the whole mess. So, I think her age was relevant there because an older person might have been less trusting of someone like Goldberg. I still do not understand why she was never prosecuted.

    2. She was. In Maryland. (The feds granted her immunity from federal charges.) But the state prosecutors needed Lewinsky to authenticate the tape, and the judge wouldn't allow her to testify claiming that her knowledge of the tape came from Goldberg's immunized testimony. No witness, no authentication, no tape, no case.

  8. Paul's point is still valid. Obviously.

    1. Clearly Paul speaks like Somerby writes. It appears he means to say percentages of women at Cornell. Like poor Somerby on his own blog, he is being distorted by trolls at FOX.

    2. If his point is that some women are doing well, it is not especially valid since not all women have the advantages of those going to professional and graduate schools. The larger population of women may not be close to equity with men, in general, using measures besides admission to elite schools.

    3. That might be true but it is a useful measure if incomplete

  9. OMB (Posts that Positively Make Us Perspire)

    Somerby: Lane has had many years to get straight on Lewinsky’s age. In fact, she was 22—almost 22 and a half!—when her affair with The Big He started.

    Bob should be thankful for small favors. No reporter has claimed she wrapped three lips around the First Salami rather than two.
    In fact, that is a tip for reporters to keep this critical issue hard and fast in their minds.

    Two lips. Twenty two years of age. Two. Two-Two. And don't be confused. She showed him her thong, not her tutu.

    BOB forgets that usually we do not refer to people's ages in half years once they can count their age on the fingers of more than one hand,
    and virtually never when those hands belong to someone just hired to handle the male at the White House.

    Can we all just settle on twenty two years, almost four months old? Should I put an exclamation mark after that like BOB?

    KZ (Wanking my Way Back to Doom)

    1. Isn't it amazing how Bob is still open to all possibilities and even dreams up new ones when it comes to the Bridge at Fort Lee, but can only read "when this all started" one way?

      It is "possible" for instance, that Lane meant "this all started" when the FBI and Starr detained Lewinsky for hours, threatened her with prison, broke the scandal in public, went prying through her Barns & Nobles receipts, threatened her mother with prison, finally got their hands on the blue dress, issued the Starr Report, had the Articles of Impeachment passed, then the trial in the Senate.

      That all happened from the time when Lewinsky was 24 and a half until well past her 25th birthday.

    2. Except for the Blue dress part, nothing in your account makes me perspire. I'm sure the interrogations made Ms. Lewinsky perspire, regardless of her advancing age.


    3. And we now know why she kept the dress and didn't have it cleaned -- it's because it had a wad of Bills on it.

  10. That's some catch that Catch-22 and a half. It's the best there is!

    Again, Paul lamely throws a braggy Christmas Card into policy issues, and is justifiably chastised for it. Maybe to Bob the fact that he also said some things marginally less dumb must also be pointed out. I see a lot bigger problems in our discourse and Media, but to each his own.

    1. Selectively editing video to make a politician appear stupid, then calling him on it (as if he had never said the edited portion) is journalistic malpractice. That is what Somerby is calling out.

    2. You may be on the wrong post, but no matter.
      In the first post, Somerby chastised Hayes for leaving out the sections contained in this post, which were shown on Fox and derided for being wrong.

      In their totality they show Paul to be something of a fool. Not sure what they show about Bob, except he is obsessed with whether people get Monica Lewinki's age right, which I have determined to be a little more than 22 and a quarter.

    3. The point about her age is not that it is incorrect but that journalists make small embellishments to fit their preferred narratives. Lowering her age and making her an intern instead of staff are an example of that.