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Lindsey Graham Got 800 On His SATs And Won’t Stop Talking About His Bad Grades

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 28/10/2015 Dana Liebelson
ATHENA IMAGE © ROBYN BECK via Getty Images ATHENA IMAGE

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who claims to have made a combined score of 800 on his SATs, wouldn't stop bragging about his poor academic record at the second-tier Republican presidential candidates' debate on Wednesday evening.

Graham took part in the debate in Boulder, Colorado, before the main event, in which the 10 leading candidates are scheduled to take the stage. He faced off against Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former New York Gov. George Pataki.  

At the event, Graham made multiple comments about his lack of academic prowess. "This is a beautiful place," he said, referring to the University of Colorado, Boulder, where the debate was held. "Looking at their academic standards, the only way I could have gotten into this university is to be invited to this debate tonight." 

Students in the 25th and 75th percentile at the university score between 1060 and 1290 on their SATs, according to the Princeton Review. In his self-published memoir, My Story, Graham wrote that his combined SAT score was 800. (The test, a rather questionable measure of intelligence, was out of 1600.) Graham said that his "LSAT scores were as poor as SATs had been."

At the debate on Wednesday, Graham repeatedly bragged about his poor record. "I'm not a scientist and I've got the grades to prove it, but I've talked to the climatologists of the world and 90 percent of them are telling me that the greenhouse gas effect is real," he said.

He also made a crack about his grasp of the English language.  "Those who stay will have to learn our language to stay," he said. "Because I don't speak it well but look how far I've come."

In his memoir, Graham elaborated that, "I wasn't a math wiz, to put it charitably" and in high school, "I made Cs mostly." He added, "I was never going to put a scare into the class valedictorian." But he became the first person in his family to go to college, attending the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Graham wrote that he feared he "wasn’t ready for the academic rigors of a college education, that I would fail, be expelled and crush my parents’ dreams."

Despite this self-deprecation, Graham went on to make "decent" grades in college and succeeded in getting into law school at the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he jumped to the top 15 percent of his class and made the school's honor society, he noted.

"Here’s what I am good at, though, and what I liked from the beginning about the law. I like telling a story," he wrote.

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