Harvard on the Campaign Trail

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Harvard, as an institution and as a symbol, has been a regular topic of discussion—or object of derision—in the 2012 presidential contest. Flyby brings you some of the most notable mentions of fair Harvard on the campaign trail.

It is unsurprising that so many candidates have mentioned Harvard, given that both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are Harvard alums. Obama graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991, and Romney earned a joint degree from HLS and Harvard Business School in 1975.

Critics of both Obama and Romney have lambasted the two for their perceived elitism, pointing to their Harvard connection as an emblem of privilege.

Before dropping out of the presidential race, Rick Perry wrote in his book "Fed Up" that today's Democrats are "more interested in government and the opinions of Harvard, Washington, and
Upper West Side Manhattan than the beliefs of those people in flyover country between the coast." For all of Perry's derision of Harvard, he later hosted a fundraiser at the Harvard Club of New York, leading to mockery from blogs like Politicker.

Rick Santorum, too, has referred to Obama’s supposed elitism. He has called colleges "indoctrination mills" and commented, "President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob."

Mitt Romney's repeated jabs at the "faculty lounge" have raised eyebrows, given his Harvard pedigree. Most recently, on March 18, Romney criticized Obama, saying, "I didn’t learn about the economy just reading about it or hearing about it at the faculty lounge at Harvard or debating it in Congress."

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