|Rand Paul: G.Q./Gage Skidmore|
When the Lexington Herald-Leader reported last week that Rand Paul was, in effect, a college dropout, it looked like the 2010 midterms might feature yet another fabulist. So far this year we've seen Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal get busted for telling tall tales about having served in Vietnam; and in the Illinois Senate race, Mark Kirk was caught lying about everything from winning the Navy's "Intelligence Officer of the Year Award" to teaching nursery school. Had Paul, who's running for Kentucky's open U.S. Senate seat, similarly fibbed about holding a bachelor's degree from Baylor University? In a word: no.
Although many media outlets have incorrectly reported that Paul did graduate from Baylor—on the assumption that because he holds a medical degree from Duke, he must also hold a bachelors degree from the university where he did his undergrad—Paul himself has always been careful to say, in interviews and in his campaign literature, that he merely "attended" the Texas school. As the Herald-Leader story explains, Paul was a student at Baylor from 1981 through 1984 and left after taking the MCAT and scoring high enough to gain admission to Duke Medical School—which doesn't contradict anything Paul has said publicly about his educational background. In fact, when I asked Paul's campaign manager Jesse Benton last month whether or not the candidate had graduated from Baylor, Benton readily admitted Paul hadn't. It clearly wasn't some secret the campaign was trying to hide from the public. What's more, Paul appears to have been telling the truth in private, too. In 1993, when he was 30 years old and finishing up his ophthalmology training at Duke, the CV he sent around to potential employers listed his M.D. from Duke, his article on "Presumed Autoimmune Corneal Endotheliopathy" in The American Journal of Ophthalmology, and his participation in soccer and softball leagues; it did not list a bachelor's degree from Baylor.
(click here to read the full story on the G.Q. Magazine website)