Harvard Graduate Romney Says Obama Spent ‘Too Much Time At Harvard’

Mitt Romney, who has law and business degrees from Harvard, is criticizing President Obama for having a law degree from Harvard.

Mitt Romney, who has law and business degrees from Harvard, is criticizing President Obama for having a law degree from Harvard.

Think Progress (“Romney, Who Has Two Harvard Degrees, Says Obama Spent ‘Too Much Time At Harvard’“):

Speaking at his Pennsylvania campaign headquarters this morning, Mitt Romney attacked President Obama as out of touch for spending too much time at Harvard, where the president went to law school. “We have a president, who I think is is a nice guy, but he spent too much time at Harvard, perhaps,” Romney said.

Unfortunately for Romney, his attack is undermined by the fact that the GOP presidential hopeful has twice as many degrees from Harvard as Obama. Romney earned a combined JD/MBA from the elite Cambridge, Massachusetts university. That means Romney spent an extra year at Harvard, getting the combined degree in four years, compared to Obama’s three for the JD alone. Indeed, Romney thrived at Harvard by all accounts.

Romney has previously attacked Obama for taking advice from the “Harvard faculty lounge,” even though one of Romney’s top economic advisers is Harvard professor Greg Mankiw.

Now, I suppose having gone to Harvard Law School doesn’t technically preclude one from arguing that someone else is tainted by having gone to Harvard Law School. Romney clearly studied with an eye towards business whereas Obama went on to, among other things, teach law. So, there’s an argument to be made that Obama was “corrupted” by the experience in a way that Romney escaped. Still, it’s a pretty silly argument. It is Silly Season, though.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Education, Quick Takes, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. DRS says:

    Why does Romney do this kind of thing? Why does an obviously intelligent man try to imitate Sarah Palin? Why does he try to pretend he suffers from the same insecurity and resentment that so many rightwing bottom-feeders do? At what point does he say “my self-respect won’t let me do that”?

  2. PJ says:

    @DRS:

    At what point does he say “my self-respect won’t let me do that”?

    Considering how frequently and easily the man lies, he sure can’t have a lot of self-respect.

  3. To be fair, Romney just shook up the Etch-A-Sketch right after graduation, so his time at Havard had no permanent effect on him.

  4. @DRS:

    At what point does he say “my self-respect won’t let me do that”?

    He doesn’t lie because he doesn’t respect himself. He lies because he doesn’t respect the voters. He honestly thinks most of them are too dumb to notice.

  5. TonyW says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Unfortunately, he’s right

  6. Hey Norm says:

    If you are going to write a post about everything Romney says, in the attempt at having things both ways, you’re going to be busy.

  7. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    Hell, I’ve learned to be skeptical of anyone who went to law school, whether Harvard Law or Suffolk Law. Law school can ruin a person’s ability to be sentient. Seriously.

    Separate but related topic: Harvard and Yale over the past 20-plus years have had sort of a monopoly on the presidency. Bush 41 – Yale. Clinton – Yale Law. Bush 43 – Yale, Harvard. Obama – Harvard Law. We know for sure a Harvard alum will be president in January 2013. Perhaps in 2016 or in 2020 it’ll be high time for someone from the School of Hard Knocks, in lieu of the Ivy League. Food for thought, is all.

    Concerning Romney’s statement about Obama, the problem with the liberal media and with the liberal and anti-Republican chattering classes is that statements meant to be figurative almost always are interpreted literally, and vice-versa, and subtle threads of irony, sarcasm and euphemistic commentary are not comprehended. The left is so hell bent reflexively to contest or to find fault with everything a Republican says or does, they lose sight of the forest by barking up the wrong tree.

    Romney didn’t literally mean Obama spent too much time at Harvard. Read that quote of his again. Think about it in context. It’s a euphemistic reference. Not a literal reference. You can spend 7 years at Harvard but still retain a utilitarian, private sector bent derived from a conservative worldview. You can spend only 3 years at Harvard, however, but leave with public sector, academic-minded bent derived from a leftist worldview.

  8. Hey Norm says:

    “…You can spend 7 years at Harvard but still retain a utilitarian, private sector bent derived from a conservative worldview…”

    Which is why Romney has a very utilitarian elevator for his cars.
    Do you get dizzy when you spin so much, Nick?

  9. Boyd says:

    I just can’t understand how a Harvard grad can dis his opponent as a Harvard grad in the belief that it will sway voters who weren’t already going to vote for him.

  10. Kylopod says:

    In light of some of these comments, it’s worth remembering the TNR piece from 2008 that captured Romney’s essence better than anything I’ve seen:

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/the-plank/mitt-romney-tarantinos-superman

  11. J-Dub says:

    @Kylopod: Just as interesting as the article are the comments about Romney from 2008. They could have been written today. He hasn’t been able to move the needle on people’s perception of him in over three years.

  12. Ron Beasley says:

    @Kylopod: I think the problem I have with Orr’s analogy is I don’t think we have ever seen the “real” Romney identity if indeed he even as one. I think Charles Pierce’s Romneybot 2.0 is better. A never ending series of firmware upgrades and downgrades.

  13. grumpy realist says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II: Sorry, nice try, but no cigar.

    (I put this in the same category as all the “gummint is eeebil!” critters who have spent their entire lives either being politicians or lobbyists, or in some other way sucking off the teat of the government. Yeah, try to tell yourself you’re Good and Moral and not like those horrid “bureaucrats.” Ditto for all the libertarian types living off programming on government contracts. If the government were actually cut down to the size you claim you want you’d quickly become very, very sorry.)

  14. mantis says:

    So, there’s an argument to be made that Obama was “corrupted” by the experience in a way that Romney escaped.

    You forgot to make that argument.

  15. al-Ameda says:

    Every time I think it’s impossible for Mitt Romney to be any more phony and inauthentic than he is and has been during this campaign season – he proves me wrong.

    He probably makes his wife cringe.

  16. An Interested Party says:

    If this is the kind of “logic” that Mittens is going to use in the general election, he’s not going to do well at all, and all the spin done by his water carriers, from pundits like James to trolls like Tsar Nicholas, isn’t going to help him…

  17. anjin-san says:

    So, there’s an argument to be made that Obama was “corrupted” by the experience in a way that Romney escaped.

    An argument to be made to appeal to idiots perhaps. Since we all know that that James is a very bright guy, you have to wonder why he signs his name to this sort of nonsense.

  18. Gustopher says:

    So, there’s an argument to be made that Obama was “corrupted” by the experience in a way that Romney escaped. Still, it’s a pretty silly argument. It is Silly Season, though.

    It’s cute that you dismiss this as just part of “Silly Season”, but really, it just speaks to Romney’s character. He lies about everything.

    I suppose it could be the old Republican tactic of attacking from your own weakness (Kerry is Swiftboated when Bush used strings to stay out of Vietnam, Obama is a secret Kenyan when McCain wasn’t born in this country, etc), but Romney is just inept at it.

  19. Kylopod says:

    (Kerry is Swiftboated when Bush used strings to stay out of Vietnam, Obama is a secret Kenyan when McCain wasn’t born in this country, etc

    I’d quibble with the inclusion of McCain in this point. The McCain campaign stayed away from birtherism or anything close to it. The fact that he was foreign born added an ironic quality to the birther movement and helped further reveal its partisan and racist nature, but it wasn’t an example of somebody attacking someone else for his own weaknesses.

  20. anjin-san says:

    “But there’s no question that over the past several weeks, that a discussion about religious liberty was distorted into a discussion about contraceptives. And there was the somehow Republicans are opposed to contraceptives. I think it was most unfortunate twist by our Democrat friends. I think this will pass as an issue as people understand our real position.”

    — Mitt Romney,

    Can’t imagine why anyone thinks this guy is a serial liar…

  21. James Joyner says:

    @mantis and @anjin-san: I’m not making the argument because I don’t believe it. Nor do I think Romney believes it; it’s silly pandering to the rubes. Overall, I roll my eyes at these things as “just politics.’ (NB, I have the same reaction when Democrats do it, such as Obama’s more egregious nonsense about the Supreme Court the other day. He knows better, too, but is playing the game.)

    All I meant by the throwaway about “an argument to be made” is that it’s theoretically possible to earnestly make such an argument. I’ve got a PhD and taught college for a number of years but sometimes nonetheless criticize people and/or their arguments as being too academic or a view from the Ivory Tower without regard to real world application.

    For that matter, William Buckley launched a hell of an intellectual career by condemning Yale right after graduating from that august institution.

  22. anjin-san says:

    It’s cool James. Considering the people your party puts forth to be President, the reeds that you have to grasp are slender indeed.

  23. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II: “Hell, I’ve learned to be skeptical of anyone who went to law school, whether Harvard Law or Suffolk Law. Law school can ruin a person’s ability to be sentient. Seriously”

    Says the guy who claims litigation as his profession (on the days that he is not claiming to be a petroleum trader, or a social worker/employment counselor).

  24. An Interested Party says:

    Says the guy who claims litigation as his profession…

    This is typical of a certain type of conservative…look at all the Republican politicians who talk about how much they hate government as they continue to seek and get reelected over and over and over again…

  25. MarkedMan says:

    James, I wonder if it’s time for you to rethink your support of Romney. Please correct me if I got this wrong, but isn’t your basic justification for your support is that Romney isn’t really a right wing Neanderthal and that he will govern to the center? But in the instance hasn’t he shown that he will simply take whatever position is politically expedient, regardless of what his personal beliefs are? I just don’t see how you think the guy will govern from his principles, especially in his first term. Can you name one single thing that Romney has shown he will stick to regardless of political expediency?

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I just don’t see how you think the guy will govern from his principles, especially in his first term.

    Romney has only one principle: Wet his finger, stick it up in the air to see which way the political winds are blowing, and go in that direction.

  27. Jenos Idanian says:

    Let me complete Romney’s thought: Obama spent too much time at Harvard and not enough time in the real world. Yeah, Romney spent an extra year there, but spent years and years in the private sector, and his one sojourn into public service was in a job where he was actually held accountable for things (see Joe Biden on executive positions). Obama left Harvard and never worked in the private sector, never held a job (before his current one) where he was actually accountable for anything or required to produce anything.

    And we’re living with the consequences today.

  28. An Interested Party says:

    Well, those “consequences” will probably be continuing for another four years…so at least that will give you something to whine about for awhile longer…