Christine O’Donnell: Emerging Tea Partyist? Check. Current Republican nominee for Delaware Senate seat? Check. CGU alumna? Not so much. But she sure wishes.
After a LinkedIn profile linked to O’Donnell’s name was exposed as claiming that she received her undergraduate degree from Oxford University when, in fact, the politician graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson College (this September, nonetheless), candidate O’Donnell’s lies (or, at least, those closely linked to her) have been uncovered once again. News leaked this week that O’Donnell’s LinkedIn additionally proclaimed the politician to have received a graduate degree from our very own Claremont Graduate University.
In truth, O’Donnell’s credentials end with her B.A., which she did not officially receive until a month ago for financial reasons.
Let’s just stop here for a minute to recognize one thing: all schools keep records. After verification from CGU that there exists “no student or education record for an individual named Christine O’Donnell,” the candidate denied ever creating the LinkedIn profile, which has since been deleted.
“This [accusation of creating the profile] is categorically untrue. I never established a LinkedIn profile, or authorized anyone to do soon my behalf,” said O’Donnell to reporters last Wednesday. “I have always been clear about my educational background.”
A second blow of evidence disproving O’Donnell arose soon after this statement when her lie regarding her graduation from Oxford was also found published on the candidate’s ZoomInfo profile, of which she had previously admitted authorship.
Though O’Donnell did not attend CGU, she did work as a Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank entirely unaffiliated with the graduate school, in 2002. Included in her resume was a statement that she had attended Oxford.
For those who have closely followed O’Donnell’s previous campaigning techniques, you will notice that this is not the first time she has heaped the blame on someone else when stuck with bad publicity (in her defense, she’s a politician. Lying about one’s background is a right of passage for those guys). In her race for Senate in 2008, O’Donnell attempted to suffocate opponent Joe Biden by claiming that he had been tapping her phones, an accusation that eventually fell through. O’Donnell went on to lose that election with 35% of the vote. Perhaps her stance on hot topics like homosexuality, religion, and the economy had something to do with that.
Realistically, lying in politics is not a huge deal – people do it all the time and don’t even get caught. But when something as huge as lying about one’s education gets out this close to elections, one can’t help but wonder: what’s going to happen to O’Donnell now? Is her race simply over, or is her opponent’s platform too far left to swing the vote?
As of Tuesday morning, O’Donnell was running 15-16 points behind Democratic opponent Chris Coons.
“I think she is going to disappear from the public’s radar screen quite quickly after the election. Wishful thinking, perhaps,” says Jean Schroedel, Dean of the School of Politics and Economics at CGU.
As for CGU students themselves, few are even aware that O’Donnell has claimed herself to be one among them.
“The basic bottom line…is that very few people at CGU even know she is claiming a link with us—most, if they knew…would be appalled,” says Schroedel.
Though CGU never saw O’Donnell set foot on campus, great political names have received degrees from our beloved graduate institution in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Congresswoman Diane Watson, congressman David Dreier, and former California State Senator Jack Scott, all CGU alumnus, have set big footprints for their political contemporaries like O’Donnell. A desire to achieve equal political success is the best thought process I can muster for O’Donnell on this one.
In the end, this seems to be all bad for O’Donnell. When stacked on top of her stance as an extremely new and certainly radical political face, this bag of blatant lies was simply a poor career move that may cost the candidate some serious brownie points with voters.