Bush Beats Kerry by a Point, at Yale

Much was made during the past two presidential elections about President George W. Bush's mediocre grades at Yale. It now turns out that his 2004 opponent Sen. John Kerry had similar grades. The Boston Globe reports that Kerry's Yale transcript shows he had a cumulative score of 76. President Bush had a score of 77.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Now a reminder that we are not always what we appear to be, at least not in our college days. The 2004 presidential election pitted two graduates of Yale against each other: John Kerry, who was seen as the intellectual, and George Bush, famously a C student. Well, it turns out that John Kerry's grades at Yale were nearly identical to those of President Bush. Today The Boston Globe made Kerry's college transcript public for the first time. The paper had sought the information during the campaign. Late last month Kerry authorized the Navy to release his record, which included his college transcript.

The Globe reports that the senator's cumulative grade in four years at Yale was a 76. And the number on President Bush's transcript: 77. While John Kerry declined to release his grades during the race for the White House, President Bush has made political art out of his C-student label.

(Soundbite of applause)

President GEORGE W. BUSH: To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students...

(Soundbite of laughter, cheering and applause)

Pres. BUSH: ...I say you, too, can be president of the United States.

(Soundbite of cheering and applause)

BLOCK: That's President Bush during a commencement speech at Yale in 2001.

John Kerry's transcript also makes him, on average, a C student. In his freshman year, he had four D's. Like George Bush, Kerry improved his grades later in college. His highest grade, an 89, was for a senior-year political science class. Greater success came in his political activities at school. A debater, he was chosen to give the senior-class oration in 1966.

So grades weren't everything for President Bush or Senator Kerry. And that should give hope to C students everywhere; that is if there are any C students left in this time of grade inflation.

(Soundbite of "Pomp and Circumstance")

BLOCK: This is NPR, National Public Radio.

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