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College transcripts replace birth certificate for Obama detractors

By Robin Abcarian, Los Angeles Times –

LOS ANGELES — Now that the issue of the president’s birth certificate has been laid to rest (mostly), some conservatives are turning their attention to a new obsession: Barack Obama’s college transcripts.

Last week, a website that already had offered a $10,000 reward for Obama’s transcripts from Occidental College, Columbia University and Harvard Law School, increased the bounty to $20,000.

About a year ago, Donald Trump, among the highest-profile “birthers,” helped get the mini-movement started. After the president released his long-form birth certificate, Trump abruptly changed subjects:

“The word is, according to what I’ve read,” Trump said, “that he was a terrible student when he went to Occidental. He then gets into Columbia; he then gets to Harvard. … How do you get into Harvard if you’re not a good student? Now maybe that’s right or maybe it’s wrong, but I don’t know why he doesn’t release his records.”

What do these “transcripters” (if we may coin a phrase) hope to prove?

“We’re not convinced that Barack is as smart as you media elitists keep insisting he is,” says The Trenches, the website that posted the reward. (The Daily Caller outed the responsible party as Brooks Bayne, a conservative blogger who admitted he was behind the reward.)

That rationale may strike some as a little flimsy, given that Obama was president of the Harvard Law Review, taught constitutional law, has two best-selling books to his credit and is, at the moment, leader of the Free World.

We do know a few things about the president’s college career.

In his new book, “Barack Obama: The Story,” David Maraniss quotes Obama as saying that his grade-point average at Columbia was an impressive 3.7. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, which cannot happen with poor grades.

The president’s presumptive opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, was no academic slouch either. According to various news reports, Romney graduated from Brigham Young University with a 3.97 grade-point average and was in the top 5 percent of his class at Harvard Business School, where he simultaneously earned a law degree.

Unfortunately for transcript transparency advocates, school transcripts, like tax returns, are private. They are protected by a 1974 law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA.

“There are all kinds of exceptions, but the rule is records may only be released with signed written consent of the individual,” said Barmak Nasserian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. The group counts more than 2,600 degree-granting institutions among its members. “Barack Obama, like every other American, is entitled to privacy rights under federal law.”

In any case, said Nasserian, he doesn’t see much benefit in allowing voters to peruse candidates’ college transcripts.

“I am not sure looking at 20-year-old Mitt Romney or Barack Obama at that granular level of detail would make a difference,” he said. “It’s kind of a stretch to say performance in a particular course, or that they took a course with a professed Marxist, or they studied Russian for heaven’s sakes, is going to be relevant or helpful to someone making up their mind.”

Though it may be true that college transcripts are not determinative, they can certainly be revealing.

In 1999, the New Yorker published an apparently purloined copy of George W. Bush’s Yale transcript before he became the Republican nominee for president. Bush, it turned out, was basically a C student. Was this a scandal? Hardly. He never cast himself as an intellectual or brainiac, and, despite his Harvard MBA, often made fun of highly credentialed people.

During the 2004 presidential campaign, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was assumed by many to be Bush’s intellectual superior. But months after he lost to Bush, his college transcripts were inadvertently sent to the Boston Globe and he was revealed to be a C student as well, earning four Ds his freshman year. (Stung by allegations that his Vietnam War service was not what he had claimed, Kerry had given permission for his Navy records to be turned over to the newspaper. The college records were part of those documents.) Can a mediocre student hope to achieve the highest office?

The answer is self-evident.

“To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done,” President Bush told Yale graduates in 2001. “And to the C students, I say you too can be president of the United States.”

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@ Peter L – every politician – local, state and national – has something in their past they’re not proud of. I’m not proud of some of my past history either.

But when someone gives public credence to the possibilities they are not eligible to hold the office they’re elected to, and also have their party attempt SEVEN TIMES in three years to change the constitution so that Obama (and Arnold Schwartzenegger) would be eligible to be president IF he were foreign born, then there is “reasonable doubt.”

Bush was a terrible president – I totally agree. BUT HE HAD A DEMOCRATIC-MAJORITY CONGRESS that had 535 votes to stop his actions any time they wanted to. But the DEMOCRAT majority was just as eager, if not more so, to throw caution to the wind.

This country’s in a mess and we need to wake up!

More Americans are on food-stamps than ANYTIME in history SINCE OBAMA TOOK OFFICE!

More Americans receive their principle support from the government than anytime in history – ALMOST HALF this country gets it’s money from the government! That has got to STOP!

The do-nothing/pass-nothing DEMOCRATIC run Senate hasn’t passed a budget since Obama took office. THAT HAS TO STOP!

Romney is not my first choice for President, but he’s getting my vote, as opposed to our current one.

Peter, the FACTS are Obama KNEW his publicist and publisher were promoting the “born in Kenya” up to 2003 – see

How can ANYONE not question his place of birth when he used his foreign-born claim to make money by selling books?????

Obama started this – if he was born in Hawaii, why did he allow people to promote him other-wise?

He’s now backed into a corner – I’ve read where he received tuition breaks for college by applying as a “foreign-born” exchange student. So, if he truly did the same, knowing he was born in Hawaii, he received financial benefit under fraudulent circumstances – a felony, which lands him impeached.

If the records show he claimed on his entrance forms Kenya-birth, he’s out as President.

It’s called politics. Not all is fair in love and war.

Every president since the begining of this country has been attacked on numerous subjects. It’s part of the game, he knew it before, he knows it now.

Non-issue. Can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

This is reality. Disinformation = loss of credibility. You will see a massive disinformation campaign this fall. They all get attacked, Kerry, Clinton, W. Bush. It’s part of the gig, and they get it. They choose to be apart of it.

It’s effective because Americans will believe it. Not all of them, but maybe enough to make a difference; hence the reasons as to why.

I don’t agree with it; but I get it. Classic counter intellegence right before our eyes. Most can’t even see it.

When you contend someone is playing the race card when speaking of Obama…the question then is which half are you referring to? , since the man is half black and half white…a mulatto.

Hate is a pretty stong word…even for you lefties…who,obviously do not care what happens to this country. All you want is the freebies Obama continues to promise, all the while sinking this country further into debt.

Freebies is right. Obama is trying to buy or bribe his way into a 2nd term. If we were to ban anyone that is on welfare from voting he wouldn’t stand a chance. He knows most people won’t bite the hand that feeds them.

Right away you try to play the race card anytime someone says something you disagree with. I don’t like hime either but it has nothing to do with the color of his skin. He is a socialist, communist who has done more to tear down the principles this country was founded on then anyone else is history. He is a terrible president who wants to make us just like Europe. Get oever it and elect a real American who will protect our country.

dependable manageable practice for you to move forward. All of us create bendable scheduled appointment predicaments that will aggressively attack to get rights.

Get off it! President Obama has done a good job, considering the MESS that the Bushes left for him. I can’t believe anyone who makes less than a million dollars a year would vote for Romney, the game show host with NO character. 4 more years!!!

Read the book, Dreams of my father, read it all and you will see what a socialist Obama is.

Oh, you mean the book Obama and his publisher promoted as “written by Kenya-born…” up to 2003?

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