Skip to comments.Nine Presidential Candidates Who Weren't Great Students in College
Posted on 09/22/2011 2:58:26 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
The Huffington Post recently released a copy of Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perrys college transcript from Texas A&M. The academic picture wasnt pretty. Perry struggled in some familiar classes (an F in organic chemistry, a D in economics) and some bizarre ones (a C in gym, a D in something the transcript labeled only as Meats”).
Are Perrys low college marks all that astonishing for a high-profile politician? Apparently not. Lets take a look at a few other big names who didnt light the academic world on fire.
1. Al Gore
Gores the brainiest politician around, right? Possibly, but you wouldnt know it from looking at his Harvard transcript. Gore apparently spent quite a bit of time loafing during his sophomore year, and some of his grades weren’t very good: a D, a C-minus, two Cs, two C-pluses, and a B-minus, marks that put him in the lowest fifth of his class. Strangely enough, the D came in a class that sounds like it would be right in Gores wheelhouse: Natural Sciences 6 (Mans Place in Nature).
2. George W. Bush
Gores foe in the 2000 presidential election takes a lot of ribbing for his intellect, but his college grades at Yale were more mediocre than embarrassing. Through his first three years at Yale, Bushs grades averaged out to 77 on a 100-point scale. He only received one D during his college career, in an astronomy course.
3. John Kerry
Like Bush, Kerry attended Yale. And he had some really rotten grades, particularly during his freshman year. As a Yale frosh, Kerry rang up Ds in geology, two history classes, and strangely enough for a future Senator political science. While Kerrys 2004 campaign presented him as a more cerebral alternative to Bush, the two mens grades at Yale were roughly equivalent.
4. Dan Quayle
Quayles academic struggles didnt start with his infamously ill-fated attempt to spell potato. According to a 1988 Cleveland Plain Dealer story, he wasnt a bang-up student at DePauw University, either. Quayles grades were so lousy that he wouldnt ordinarily have been able to earn admission into Indiana Universitys law school, but he secured a spot thanks to an equal opportunity program. During the 1988 presidential campaign a Quayle spokesman explained that high marks were simply hard to come by at DePauw.
5. George H.W. Bush
When Quayles middling college grades became a story during the 1988 campaign, running mate George H.W. Bush defended his eventual VP and revealed a bit of his own classroom struggle. Bush joked, ”I refuse to release my high school transcript because I failed chemistry and I don’t want anyone to know that.”
6. John McCain
McCain excelled at a lot of things during his time at the United States Naval Academy, including boxing. McCains classes knocked him out, though. His grades were so poor that in his graduating class of 899, he earned spot 894 in the rankings.
7. Joe Biden
By all accounts, Biden wasnt the worlds greatest student, but he made up for his academic shortcomings with sheer likability. Biden ranked 506th out of 688 students in the University of Delawares class of 1965, but a professor still recommended him for law school on grounds of personality and general promise. The future VP didnt exactly turn on the jets once he got to law school, either. He finished 76th in his class of 85 students at Syracuse, and admitted to plagiarism in his first year of law school. But again, a dean recommended him for a job on the basis of his confidence, general physical appearance, and general speaking ability.
8. Franklin Pierce
Its not just modern politicians who goofed around in college. When Pierce attended Bowdoin College, he spent so much time hanging out with friends, including a young Nathaniel Hawthorne, that at one point he was ranked dead last in his class. He eventually found some motivation and worked his way up to fifth in his class.
9. Richard Nixon
Unlike the other names on this list, Nixon was actually an excellent student. After Whittier College, Nixon went on to Duke Law, where he graduated third in his class in 1937. He also served as president of the Duke Bar Association. But we’re including him because his good grades didn’t earn him much respect from his alma mater.
In 1954, a committee recommended that then-VP Nixon be given an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, and Nixon agreed to be the graduation speaker. However, after vociferous debate, a faculty panel voted down the recommendation, and Nixon bailed on the commencement address.
Over a quarter-century later, Duke President Terry Sanford pushed to build Nixons presidential library on campus, even meeting with Nixon himself to work out the details. However, a similar faculty committee killed the idea. The Nixon Library ended up in Yorba Linda, California.
Hell hath no fury like a former seminarian. From Hollywood superstars to adulterous dilettantes, several seminary dropouts have managed to find success in the secular world. But they’ve also strayed from the Christian path – whether it was for the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard or simply to reign terror over a Communist nation. Here’s a sampling of the finest in almost-clergy.
1. Tom Cruise (1962 – )
In 1976, a deeply religious child named Thomas Cruise Mapother IV enrolled in a Franciscan seminary in New Jersey. Within five years, he’d ditched the church, dropped the Mapother, and landed a part in Endless Love. And in spite of his diminutive height (5 feet 7 inches) the man who might have been a priest became one of Hollywood’s top leading men. Around 1986, though, he abandoned Catholicism altogether, embracing the Church of Scientology, which he once credited with helping him overcome dyslexia. Wildly popular with celebrities, Scientology is the path of choice to "clarity" for everyone from John Travolta to the guy who played Parker Lewis in Parker Lewis Can’t Lose. Incidentally, Scientology does have ministers – but while Cruise remains an active member and apologist for the group, he has yet to seek ordination.
2. Casanova (1725 – 1798)
Everyone’s favorite 18th-century libertine began his scandalous escapades at the seminary of St. Cyprion, from which he was expelled under cloudy circumstances (we’re guessing he slept with someone). And as you well know, his post seminary life was as ungodly as it gets. By the age of 30 he was sentenced to prison for engaging in "magic," but he escaped after only a year to Paris. There, he made a fortune by introducing the lottery to France. But before settling down to write his ribald, self-aggrandizing autobiography, Casanova was expelled from more European countries than most of us ever visit. Along the way, he slept with tons of women, dueled with many of their husbands, and generally sinned his was to the top of European culture, befriending such figures as Madame du Pompadour and Jean-Jacques Rousseau along the way.
3. Joseph Stalin (1879 – 1953)
Lasting longer than the vast majority of divinity school dropouts, noted mass murderer Joseph Stalin studied at the Georgian Orthodox seminary in Tiflis (now Tbilisi) for five years, between 1894 and 1899. He left the seminary either because of poor health (his mom’s story) or revolutionary activity (Stalin’s story). Either way, Stalin clearly didn’t take much of what he learned to heart (assuming he had one). After he became the Soviet leader in 1922, he was responsible for the deaths of thousands of religious leaders, and Stalin did more than any other premier to eliminate the role of Christianity in Soviet life. But his seminary wasn’t exactly a study in Christian love, either. Prior to Stalin’s arrival, a rector was murdered there – possibly by unruly seminarians.
4. Michael Moore (1954 – )
Controversial documentary filmmaker Michael Moore began studying at a seminary in his hometown of Flint, Michigan, as an eight grader in 1967. Brought up a devout Catholic, Moore aspired to a career as a priest, but he left the seminary the next year for thoroughly secular reasons. When the Detroit Tigers made it to the World Series in 1968, the seminary refused to let him watch the games – so he quit. Before his successful filmmaking career, in fact, Moore was something of a serial dropout. He dropped out of the University of Michigan because he arrived at the school one morning and couldn’t find a parking place, and he once got a job at an automobile factory in Flint – but called in sick on his first day and never returned.
5. Al Gore (1948 – )
Believe it or not, the winner of the popular vote in the U.S. presidential election of 2000 was actually a devoutly religious divinity school dropout. It’s true! Al Gore graduated from Harvard cum laude in 1969 (although he earned several Cs and a D during his time in Cambridge), but he’d always been interested in theology, so he decided to continue his studies. It’s no wonder, then that he enrolled in Vanderbilt’s prestigious divinity school, where, over the course of three semesters, he failed five of his eight classes! Gore’s allies claimed that the birth of his first child and his duties as a reporter at the Tennessean newspaper kept him from his studies. For the record, though, Gore also later dropped out of Vanderbilt’s law school (in 1976), but this time for a truly higher purpose – to run for Congress.
zero got into Harvard with an M+ (Minority)
How was he as a student? That is the $64,000 question.
I love how the article smears Nixon anyways.
Oh, and where are Obama’s grades?
OK, but before Harvard, we went to Occidental and Columbia, any grades he can show for it?
Actually, he got all AAs (Affirmative Actions) at Occidental and Columbia.
Zero was mediocre at academics, but never accepted education.
Study the meanings of the two different words.
“I love how the article smears Nixon anyways.”
Commies are hateful, petty, little ba$tards.
They’ll never forgive Dick Nixon for running Red asse$ into the ground during the HUAC sessions........over 60 years ago....
“What about Barack Obama? How was he as a student? Anybody have any idea?”
He was in a super-secret chain-pull Society...they do not allow access to records.
Good luck finding out.
What about Barack Obama? How was he as a student? Anybody have any idea?
His records have been sealed, locked up and hidden away.
There's some speculation he was a "foreign exchange" student, too.
Obama was a D student who made it on Affirmative Action.
Prove me wrong.
In 1954, a committee recommended that then-VP Nixon be given an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, and Nixon agreed to be the graduation speaker. However, after vociferous debate, a faculty panel voted down the recommendation, and Nixon bailed on the commencement address.”
The faculty was outraged by the Republican “Witch Hunt” in DC...which, of course, turned out to be correct. In a rare instance the faculty showed its left-leaning stripe. /s
What about Barack Obama? How was he as a student? Anybody have any idea?
I think it makes their heads explode to see that Nixon was 3rd in his class.
Also note, how the only democrat president listed is Franklin Pierce. ;) There’s a reason for that.
Obama was a D+/C- student.
He did not need grades.
I beg to differ.
Zer0 was a double-A student.
AsJack Cashill repeatedly asks!: “Just show me Obama’s SAT Scores??” let alone Obama’s LSAT Scores!! obama is a DUD!!
sponsored by many very evil scumbags!
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