Ophthalmologist-turned-politician Rand Paul may have a medical degree from Duke University, but the Kentucky senator and likely 2016 presidential candidate never completed his undergraduate education at Baylor University. So why did Paul assert twice yesterday that he holds two bachelor's degrees from the institution?
The senator embellished his record during an appearance at the Lincoln Labs "Reboot Congress" event Thursday. In two instances highlighted by Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler, Paul falsely suggested that he had obtained undergraduate degrees. First came this exchange between Paul and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington:
ARRINGTON: Let’s talk about economics because maybe you can actually explain this to me. I have an econ degree which means I know just enough not to understand any of what our government is [inaudible]...
PAUL: Mine’s in biology and English so this is going to be a great conversation.
Later on, during a discussion of the virtual currency Bitcoin, Paul said, “This is just me. I have a biology degree, okay? But with Bitcoin my concern always was whether or not something has real value. So I could imagine a kind of coin that was exchangeable. This gets back to the whole idea, does money have to be exchangeable for something to be of value?”
Yet as Kessler notes, while Paul studied English and biology at Baylor, he left the university after three years in 1984, before obtaining a bachelor's degree in either field. Despite lacking an undergraduate degree, Paul went on to graduate from Duke's medical school in 1988. A spokesman for the senator subsequently clarified that he does not, in fact, hold degrees in English and biology, as he'd claimed.
This isn't the first time Paul has landed in hot water for how he's handled his college record. During his 2010 Senate campaign, Paul faced criticism for not correcting an interviewer who described him as "a graduate of Baylor University."