Christine O’Donnell’s educational background was further scrutinized yesterday. On a LinkedIn profile with her name and image, “University of Oxford” is listed as one of the schools attended. Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent looked into the claim and found out that while O’Donnell had attended a course that took place at Oxford, it had been run by a group unaffiliated with Oxford, the Phoenix Institute.
Today, her campaign released a statement from O’Donnell saying that the LinkedIn profile was not created by her and asked that it be taken down:
There have been reports that I have released false information on a LinkedIn profile under my name. This is categorically untrue. I never established a LinkedIn profile, or authorized anyone to do so on my behalf. I have always been clear about my educational background. I completed undergraduate work at Fairleigh Dickenson University. After my undergraduate work, I completed a summer program run by the Phoenix Institute, at the Institute’s Oxford University location. The Institute runs programs around the world at various universities, and participants study issues of human dignity. I also completed a Lincoln Fellowship at the Claremont Institute in Claremont, CA. We would encourage LinkedIn to remove this profile.
O’Donnell went to on to say that “a more important educational issue” was “the government takeover of the student loan industry, passed as part of the Obamacare law.” Saying that the move had “thrown into jeopardy thousands of jobs in the private student loan industry,” O’Donnell asked if Coons would “condemn his party bosses for threatening private sector jobs and eliminating student loan choice and competition for Delaware college students?”
This is not the first time a LinkedIn profile has caused a stir for a political figure. When Sarah Palin created a LinkedIn account last fall, it was widely covered.
UPDATE: Sargent wants to know why O’Donnell’s campaign didn’t tell him originally that the LinkedIn account was a fake:
As the person who first reported yesterday on the Oxford claim on O’Donnell’s LinkedIn profile, let me be clear: I asked O’Donnell’s spokesperson, Diane Banister, for comment on the profile’s Oxford claim last Friday. Banister never once claimed the profile wasn’t put up by O’Donnell. Indeed, in response to my inquiry, Banister justified the claim on the LinkedIn profile by pointing to O’Donnell’s stint at Phoenix University.
Nor did O’Donnell’s spox dispute that the LinkedIn profile was hers when I again emailed her yesterday to let her know I was close to publishing.
I also e-mailed the O’Donnell campaign to find out why, if the account had not been created by O’Donnell and contained erroneous information, they had not asked LinkedIn to take it down earlier. No response yet. If I get one, I’ll make sure to post it.