He Graduated Without Honors
By ROSS GOLDBERG, Special to the Sun | September 2, 2008
Senator Obama's life story, from his humble roots, to his rise to Harvard Law School, to his passion as a community organizer in Chicago, has been at the center of his presidential campaign. But one chapter of the tale remains a blank — his education at Columbia College, a place he rarely speaks about and where few people seem to remember him.
Contributing to the mystery is the fact that nobody knows just how well Mr. Obama, unlike Senator McCain and most other major candidates for the past two elections, performed as a student.
The Obama campaign has refused to release his college transcript, despite an academic career that led him to Harvard Law School and, later, to a lecturing position at the University of Chicago. The shroud surrounding his experience at Columbia contrasts with that of other major party nominees since 2000, all whom have eventually released information about their college performance or seen it leaked to the public.
For better or worse, voters have taken an interest in candidates' grades since 1999, when the New Yorker published President Bush's transcript at Yale and disclosed that he was a C student. Mr. Bush had never portrayed himself as a brain, but many were surprised to learn the next year that his opponent, Vice President Gore, did not do much better at Harvard despite his intellectual image. When Senator Kerry's transcript surfaced, reporters found that he actually had a slightly lower average at Yale than Mr. Bush did.