Mo. governor candidate changes college biography

AP News
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Posted: Jan 12, 2012 7:31 PM
Mo. governor candidate changes college biography

Missouri gubernatorial candidate Dave Spence changed his online biography Thursday to fix a claim about a college economics degree and acknowledged that his campaign also had distributed fliers wrongly asserting that he attended business school at the University of Missouri.

The biographical adjustments come as Spence _ a St. Louis businessman making his first political campaign _ has been traveling the state trying to ramp up his challenge to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon in 2012 elections. Spence's campaign has emphasized his business acumen.

Spence, 53, has a degree in home economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia. But the biography on his campaign website originally omitted the word "home" while describing his economics degree _ a fact first reported earlier this week by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Spence acknowledged that the description may have been misleading.

On Thursday, Spence's website was changed to remove any reference to a degree, stating merely that he attended the University of Missouri-Columbia. Later Thursday, the website was changed again to provide a more elaborate description of his college experience.

His website biography now states: "After high school, Dave attended the University of Missouri-Columbia where he majored in family economics and management (also known as consumer economics) and earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Home Economics."

It wasn't the first time that Spence's biography had to be changed.

The Associated Press obtained a copy Thursday of a Spence campaign flier that had been distributed at a Republican Party event that Spence attended Dec. 6 in the St. Louis area. The flier claimed: "After high school, Dave attended University of Missouri-Columbia School of Business and earned a degree in Economics."

But Spence never attended the university's business school. His degree in home economics was awarded through a different school at the university.

Spence said in emails Thursday to the AP that he didn't know his campaign materials had included the business school claim.

"I have said all along that I will not or do not lie," Spence said. "A lot of this is overblown, as I was not aware of any place that said business school."

Spence later added: "I will take responsibility for this. I did not catch the mistake on early campaign literature."

Spence campaign manager Jared Craighead said the statement about the business school was a "staff oversight that was corrected." The flier distributed in December also listed the wrong dates for when Spence had received awards from the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.

The Missouri Democratic Party said Thursday that Spence's education assertions are more than mere oversights.

"If David Spence can't tell the truth about something as basic as his college degree, Missourians shouldn't believe a word that comes out of his mouth. This guy is just shameless," said state Democratic Party spokeswoman Caitlin Legacki.