Rudy and the Anti-Clinton Correction

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: May 14, 2007 2:37 PM

Is it just me, or is it hard to imagine a Clinton making this correction?

When Rudy was introduced to a class of Citadel graduates this weekend before giving his commencement speech, his bio included a mention of his "magna cum laude" graduation from New York University Law School. Here was Rudy's opening:

Thank you very, very much, General Rosa. And thank you very much forthe degree. It wasn’t as hard as what you had to go through to get it.And I should correct you, I was Cum Laude at New York University LawSchool, not Magna. But it’s an honor to stand before you and a greathonor to be able to say congratulations to the 438 graduating cadetsfrom The Citadel Class of 2007.

Did a politician just voluntarily demote himself from "high honors" to "honors" graduate when he could have let the slight promotion stand? Well done, Rudy. A small gesture, but a meaningful one, it seems.

Of course, one can hardly blame Gen. Rosa for mixing it up. It seems the city of New York thinks Giuliani graduated magna cum laude, as well.

I wandered around to the rest of his biographies to see if perhaps Rudy's correction was an attempt to wipe clean some resume embellishment he'd allowed to happen earlier in his career, but it appears that most of his online biographies (Wikipedia, Answers.com, and his own Guiliani Partners) have him listed as cum laude. Only NYC gets it wrong.

Click through for his whole speech-- very heavy on 9/11, importance of military strength, striving for victory, and plain old inspiration. I have a theory that the fewer headlines come out of a candidate's commencement speech, the better the speech served the audience for which it should be intended-- the graduates-- as opposed to the speaker. Giuliani's speech, when compared to Clinton's on the same weekend, in the same state, has gotten very little ink.