alt textWhen Mark Kirk was caught embellishing his résumé, he was roundly ridiculed. His opponent in the U.S. Senate race and scores of columnists and editorial writers condemned him—and many, myself included, wondered why a man with such sterling academic and professional credentials felt the need to pump up his experience.

When mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun—Kirk’s predecessor in the U.S. Senate—went on WGN radio early last Wednesday morning and claimed that she had “an advanced degree from Harvard” (she has degrees from the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago Law School), the only reporter I’ve found who picked up on the whopper was the Chicago Tribune’s Eric Zorn.

What’s striking about Moseley Braun’s statement is that later in the interview she had a chance to clear things up. Host Greg Jarrett opened the segment to calls, and a caller named Jeffrey remarked that he’s “impressed” by all of Moseley Braun’s accomplishments, including that she “went to Harvard.” The moment passed without a clarification from the candidate—that she was a visiting fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics in 2007, but the program did not offer a degree.

Moseley Braun’s embellishment has not become an issue in the campaign. Why? And can someone please explain to me—I mean this literally; do it by leaving a comment below—why she would claim a degree she doesn’t have from one of the nation’s most prestigious universities? Like Mark Kirk, Moseley-Braun—the first African-American woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate—has some noteworthy academic and professional credentials.

A call to her spokesman for an answer was not returned by post time.


Photograph: Chicago Tribune