Christine O’Donnell Lies About Attending Oxford University

Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell (R-DE) proclaimed on her LinkedIn the University of Oxford under “education,” but it turns out that’s another exaggeration on her resume. The claim is that O’Donnell earned a certificate from an Oxford course which her campaign said is “overseen” by a summer seminar program called the Phoenix Institute.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Christine O’Donnell At The Values Voter Summit]

The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent uncovered the whopper of a discrepancy, and a Phoenix representative overseeing the course she took told Sargent that O’Donnell’s LinkedIn claim is “misleading.”[TPM VIDEO: Christine O’Donnell’s Greatest Hits]

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Christine O’Donnell: Anti-Masturbation Crusader. Witchcraft Dabbler. Republican Senate Nominee.]

Sargent reports that Chris Fletcher, who oversaw the Institute’s 2001 Oxford Summer Programme and the course O’Donnell took, said the course wasn’t overseen by Oxford at all.

“We never represented it as a course run by Oxford University,” Fletcher told Sargent.

From the story, which you can read in full here:

Fletcher said the only connection to Oxford is that they rented space there and organized some lectures with “guest lecturers from Oxford and Cambridge” as well as from other institutions.

“It wasn’t an official course of Oxford University,” Fletcher said. “It wasn’t sponsored by Oxford University. We rented the space.”

“It was our curriculum, and we did the grades,” Fletcher continued. Fletcher’s conclusion about O’Donnell’s Oxford claim: “It’s misleading.”

Here’s a screengrab we took of O’Donnell’s LinkedIn, in case she edits the page.

Of course, the Fairleigh claim also wasn’t quite accurate. As Politico reported, outstanding debt kept O’Donnell from earning her 1993 degree until just a few weeks ago.

[TPM VIDEO: Christine O’Donnell: “Evolution Is A Myth”]

Politico caught that O’Donnell’s 2006 campaign site described her as a graduate of the university.

Our coverage of this race is here.

Late Update: A new report late tonight suggests O’Donnell did not attend Claremont Graduate University as she indicated.

Gary Scott, a radio producer in Los Angeles and longtime political reporter and editor, uncovered tonight on his blog that O’Donnell does not seem to have attended the Southern California school.

From Scott’s report:

The same resume lists O’Donnell as having attended Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. The claim seemed suspicious since O’Donnell had yet to receive her undergraduate degree, from Farleigh Dickinson University, until last summer. So I asked CGU’s public relations officer, Rod Leveque, if the school had any record of O’Donnell attending classes there. His response:
In short, no. Claremont Graduate University has no student or education record for an individual named Christine O’Donnell.
In 2002, O’Donnell was listed as a “Lincoln Fellow” at the Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank also based in Claremont. However, the institute is not affiliated with the Claremont Graduate University or any of the other Claremont Colleges. One of the Claremont Institute’s fellows, Harry Jaffa, did teach at the Claremont Graduate University back when it was known as Claremont Graduate School.

TPM also reached the university spokesman Leveque.

He tells us:

Claremont Graduate University has no student or education record for an individual named Christine O’Donnell.

Later Update: Read our full report on Claremont.

Wednesday Update: O’Donnell issues a statement Wednesday saying she did not create the LinkedIn profile. Read her explanation here.

Late Wednesday Update: TPM’s Evan McMorris-Santoro spoke with the O’Donnell campaign, which says they are still figuring out what to do. His report is here.

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