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College Records of Dick Cheney Show He Failed out of Yale

President George W. Bush’s college records have often been mocked, as Bush was a solid C student at Yale University.  However, Bush’s Yale experience went significantly better than Vice President Dick Cheney’s. Cheney actually flunked out of Yale.

In fact, young Dick Cheney had a bit of wild youth.  He was arrested twice for drunk driving charges in the early 1960s in Wyoming, where he worked as a lineman for a power company.  He did finally go back to school, although, as the New York Times has suggested, this may have had more to do with wanting to avoid getting drafted into Vietnam than it did with wanting to get an education.

In 1963, Cheney enrolled at Casper Community College in Casper, Wyoming.  Later that year, he transferred to the University of Wyoming at Laramie, where he earned a BA and an MA in political science.  He also began doctoral work in political science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, but he did not finish.

Cheney’s grades for his undergraduate and graduate work are not available, and apparently are in an undisclosed location.

Barack Obama’s GPA and College Records

So how did Barack Obama fare in college?

It’s unclear how well he did as an undergraduate, although he was not a distinguished student. Obama refuses to release his transcript from his undergraduate years.  According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Obama was not well-known among classmates after he transferred to Columbia University from Occidental College in the early 1980s.  The article quotes a former roommate who states that Obama’s performance improved after he stopped taking drugs (which Obama has admitted to openly).  Since Obama did not graduate with honors, that means his GPA was between a 2.0 and a 3.3 — although, since he was admitted to Harvard Law School, it’s hard to imagine his GPA was much lower than a 3.3.

Obama graduated from Columbia in 1983 with a degree in political science. He specialized in international relations.

Law school was another story for Obama.  He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School (the second highest honor available) in 1991.  He also was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, a very prestigious honor.

Read more about Barack Obama’s educational background, or read about the educational records of John McCain, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin.

Common Misspellings: Barak Obama, Barac Obama, Barack Obamma

College Records of the 2008 Presidential Candidates

So how did Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin fare in college?  What were their GPAs?  What courses did they take and excel in, and what gave them problems?

I investigated this question today, and sadly, it was difficult to find solid answers.  After all, GPAs and other information about college performance is confidential information.  When I was a professor, I couldn’t even tell parents how their kids were doing in classes, much to their frustration.  That’s the law.

Nonetheless, when an individual applies to grad school, or when they apply to a competitive job where intelligence matters quite a bit, they are asked to submit their GPA and their college transcripts.  And that’s why it irks me that information about the candidates’ college records are not readily available.   After all, the American people are about to hire two of these candidates to crucially important positions.  Shouldn’t we have this information about their accomplishments — or lack thereof– in higher education?  No, GPA isn’t a direct indicator of intelligence and future success, but it certainly is one indicator.

At any rate, here’s the information that’s out there about the college records of Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin.


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