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What Type of Education do You Need to Run for President?


The Nation’s governors will convene in Washington this weekend for the winter meeting of the National Governors Association. It will be a chance for the presidential hopefuls of the group to present themselves on a national stage.

With less than a year to the Iowa caucuses, Tyler Daniels reports that this election cycle the GOP may break a recent pattern of presidential nominees with Ivy League backgrounds.



Barrack Obama, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush all have degrees from Harvard or Yale. George W. Bush has degrees from both.

2012 presidential opponent, Mitt Romney has two degrees from Harvard.

The 2016 GOP field could change this pattern if the conventional Washington wisdom that Chuck Todd cited on last Sunday’s Meet the Press holds:

TODD: “There’s no one frontrunner, but I think we know what the top tier is. And that top tier is now Bush and Walker.”

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush graduated from the University of Texas.

But Governor Scott Walker didn’t graduate at all. He enrolled in Marquette University, but he dropped just before he ran for State Assembly.

If Walker wins Republican nomination – he’ll be the first major party candidate without a college degree since Barry Goldwater – In 1964. If he becomes president, he’d be the fist without a degree since Harry Truman.

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni doesn’t think any of that necessarily is problem.

BRUNI: “I don’t think you have to go to a good school, or even graduate to become president.”

Bruni has a book coming out next month called – “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be”.  And it makes the case – you don’t need to go to an elite school to be a success.

BRUNI: “If you look at vice presidents and people who have had the nomination you diversify the sample pool, or rather you enlarge it, you find plenty of people who did not have fancy degrees.”

Most Americans don’t care if their president went to a fancy school, according to Drew DeSilver from Pew the Pew Research Center, which polled Americans last year.

DeSilver: “74% said it didn’t matter at all if their candidate had gone to a prestigious university whether it would make them more or less likely to support them.”

Only 19 percent of Americans said they’d be more likely to support a candidate who attended a prestigious university.

Frank Bruni thinks that the fact that the last four US presidents went to elite schools is a bit of a coincidence.

BRUNI: I think it has a lot less to do with Americans saying I want a guy from Harvard or I want a guy from Yale. Than it has to do with some of the advantages of networking.

The first people many political candidates turn to for contributions are their classmates from college or grad school.

Its not it’s not an elite degree that makes you president, but it might be a presidential personality that gets you an elite degree.

Tyler Daniels – Columbia Radio News


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