Mitt Romney took yet another shot at the “Harvard faculty lounge” on Sunday, a phrase he has used derisively in speeches for months. But the very next day, he prominently cited a Harvard economics professor as a major influence in a speech at another elite academic institution, the University of Chicago.
In his speech Monday, Romney opened by saying he “read a book by historian David Landes called ‘The Wealth and Poverty of Nations.'” He continued: “In it, he traces the rise and fall of the great civilizations in history. After about 500 pages of scholarly analysis, he concludes with this observation: ‘If we learn anything from the history of economic development, it is that culture makes all the difference.”
Landes is professor emeritus of history and economics at Harvard University. That Romney would be influenced by a Harvard academic isn’t surprising, of course. He relies on a large number of Harvard-connected advisers, holds two advanced degrees from Harvard in business and law, has donated $50,000 to the university and has sent three sons to the school. He also leads the GOP field in political contributions from Harvard faculty. Nonetheless, it’s been a frequent target for him on the campaign trail.
“My career was spent in the economy,” Romney said in Illinois Sunday. “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.”