Rand Paul’s Misremember Moment – And His Staff’s Hissy-Fit Defense


Move over, Brian Williams, Rand Paul just had his own misremember moment – and twice in one day. Attending the Lincoln Labs “Reboot Congress” conference on Feb. 12, the Kentucky senator claimed to have bachelor’s degrees in English and biology when speaking in a panel discussion.

Paul doesn’t have either of such degrees, however. In fact, he has no bachelor’s degree whatsoever, the Washington Post reports. He studied biology and English at Baylor University between 1981 and 1984 – that’s true – but he never graduated.

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That didn’t stop Paul from making the claim twice at the Washington, D.C. conference, though. Launching the discussion, panel leader and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington introduced himself as one with a degree in economics. And Paul replied:

Mine’s in biology and English, so this is going to be a fun conversation.

When the topic changed to electronic currency like Bitcoin, he made a similar-but-narrower claim:

This is just me. I have a biology degree, okay? But with Bitcoin my concern always was whether or not something has real value.

But, Paul doesn’t have any bachelor’s degree. He did complete graduate studies to become an ophthalmologist, but Duke University’s medical school didn’t require any bachelor’s degree at that time (but now does, since 2010).

Making the circumstance even sillier though, are attempts by Paul’s staff to defend the falsehood. Brian Darling, the senator’s senior communications director, hissy-fitted to the Washington Post that:

 … a M.D. Degree is the study of biomedical sciences according to the Duke University School of Medicine. In other words, a M.D. is a biology degree. Merriam-Webster defines biology as ‘a branch of knowledge that deals with living organisms and vital processes.’ […] It is common knowledge that the study of medicine is the study of human biology, and a MD has a doctorate degree in one area of study of the science of biology.

If Darling were serious in this misdirecting praise for the senator’s medical degree, however, then perhaps he should also have explained why “Dr.” Paul isn’t board certified. He is not recognized by the American Board of Ophthalmology, the official panel of this medical specialty. Instead, Paul created his own National Board of Ophthalmology (NBO) back in 1999, making himself its president (…and his wife as vice president … and his father-in-law as secretary).

This NBO was never certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties, either, and even dissolved twice – once in 2000, when Paul didn’t complete any filings for the organization, and again in 2011 after he won his U.S. Senate seat.

Now let’s bring this back to Brian Williams for a second. The NBC anchor and editor was recently suspended for six months after his personal recollections of tragic events were found to be somewhat skewed (and even though memory distortion is common in cases of traumatic incidents).

So if Williams gets suspended for these now-infamous misremembrances, shouldn’t “Dr.” Paul get put on the sidelines, too? After all, he can’t even correctly remember his own education.

H/T: Washington Post | Image: DonkeyHotey via Flickr (modified)

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