Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 12, 2016

Westmoreland: Perdue ‘High School Graduate’ Comments ‘Stupid’

Westmoreland weighs in to Senate primary spat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland on Thursday knocked down Georgia Senate candidate David Perdue’s assertion that his opponent is not qualified to run for the Senate because she does not have a college education.

Westmoreland, who himself never graduated from college, said Perdue’s comments about former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel are “stupid.” He is a five-term Georgia Republican and has yet to endorse a candidate in the race, which includes three of his House colleagues, Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston. He noted that Perdue’s comment is unlikely to affect his choice.

The Georgia Senate primary has been a practical free-for-all, and Perdue recently reportedly said, “I mean, there’s a high school graduate in this race, OK? I’m sorry, but these issues are so much broader, so complex. There’s only one candidate in this race that’s ever lived outside the United States. How can you bring value to a debate about the economy unless you have any understanding about the free enterprise system and how — what it takes to compete in the global economy?”

Westmoreland noted that Perdue’s comment is unlikely to affect his choice.

“It’s not going to affect it. This just shows the different personalities,” he said. “I think it’s stupid. I’m sure that’s the way he feels, but I feel like you don’t have to be a college degree to be good at whatever you want to do. It’s never hindered me.”

Westmoreland continued, “Our Founding Fathers, they didn’t say anything about a college education.” he continued. “If he wants to put some qualifications on the office that are not in the constitution, that’s up to him.”

  • Adela Wagner

    Perdue does not realize, there are many of us who did not go to college. Some of dropped out of high school because of having to work, or because like me, were wards of the state and moved around in many foster homes until we were old enough to leave the system and had to go straight into a job having not finished school.
    A GED is not difficult to come by, a college education is.

    Also, not everyone who goes to college comes out more intelligent, as is glaringly obvious in this instance.

  • pappadave

    True. I HAVE a college education, but I’m no “smarter” today than I was before going into college. If anything, I may be LESS “smart.” I went to get the piece of paper necessary to get me into the field in which I wanted to work.

  • Pro_bono_publico

    All things being equal, I would consider more education to be a plus for a candidate for the U.S. Senate — especially in economics, finance and law.

  • Finetime71

    Westmoreland does not have a college degree either. He went home and does very little in his father’s construction business. Now you know the rest of the story.

  • Finetime71

    Twisted words…You may less smart than before you went to college, does not mean that you didn’t learn something in college. There are a lot of smart people who are dumber than a brick, and a lot of learned people who are not very smart. But skilled businesses look for smart people who are learned.

  • Rumionemore

    It’s probably going to be a Perdue-Michelle Nunn showdown. May the best woman win!

  • Rumionemore

    I appreciate what you are saying, but I have been in the work force for years, and I could not have gotten the breaks I have without the degree. Younger people who report to me have masters and Ph.D.s, and they are the up-and-comers who’ll one day run things.People who don’t have degrees in today’s marketplace have to have either exceptional skills in a trade (plumbing, carpentry) or they have to have a trashy and successful reality TV show. Those don’t last forever.

  • Rumionemore

    If you were going to just learn a bunch of facts to make dinner conversation, yes, I can see that you would be disappointed.

  • nicman

    can you tell me one non college educated congress man or senator or us official who supported this war in Iraq and how one educated high profile college graduate presented maps and photos at The UN to trump the war in IRAQ

  • Adela Wagner

    That is great. I am just saying that you are no less a person and perhaps not of LESS intelligence because you did not go to college.
    So much emphasis is put on ALL young people going, and has caused regular every day hard work to seem “beneath” one, so much so that we have a generation of kids who think they should not be expected to work at anything menial or physical.
    All jobs are important, some as a stepping stone, some as a way of life.
    A truck driver who has been around and has an understanding how life works should have just as much chance to run for office as someone who has a diploma.
    Perdue has pointed at his challenger and said that because she never went to college, and never lived outside the USA, she is not fit to serve. That in itself, to me, is UnAmerican.

  • Adela Wagner

    With all these liberal professors now, it would not be hard to come out going backwards. HAHA. I admire people who take steps to do what they want. I have gone back and taken classes for a couple of things I wanted to work at. Business classes and Nursing.
    But NOT going, should not make someone ineligible for office as Perdue is saying.

  • pappadave

    You can’t be both “smart” AND “dumber than brick.” You’re either smart, or you’re not smart. Perhaps you meant to say you can be highly EDUCATED and still be “dumber than a brick.” With THAT I highly agree.

  • pappadave

    I didn’t go to college to “learn a bunch of facts” for ANY reason…little enough “dinner conversation.” I went, HOPING to learn something useful as a businessman. I was sadly disappointed.

  • SaoMagnifico

    What’s this “recently reportedly said”? There’s video, for chrissakes.

  • Rumionemore

    Well, I can appreciate your candor. Maybe you can figure out what happened and pass it along to your kids or younger employees.

  • Rumionemore

    I don’t disagree with your philosophy. That’s mine, too, as far as life lessons go. I am saying that life lessons don’t always translate so well on resumes in today’s job world – at least not for the higher paying jobs. I have family members who work blue collar jobs earning a nice living as craftsmen and a hair salon owner. They have happy, fulfilling lives. Their parents did not go to college, and their young adult children are not, either. We live in a world in which wealth and fame are over-hyped, and as long as people understand those things don’t just fall in your lap, that’s fine. Most people should aim for comfort and security and not envy all the things collected by others.

  • pappadave

    Oh, I know EXACTLY what happened. The instructors and “professors” had NO business experience whatsoever and were full of fancy “theories” that simply won’t work in practical applications. A case of idiots with “impeccable credentials,” in my opinion.

  • mabramso

    As a non-Georgian with no attachment to any candidate in this race (other than hoping a non-Akin-like candidate emerges) and as a guy with a lot of education (5 graduate-level degrees), I can tell you that there are a lot of people who have much education and not much common sense, and vice versa. Given that Handel is already a sitting LtGov, I fail to see how the lack of a degree somehow disqualifies her. I am amazed so many politicians don’t think before they speak and end up insulting so many of the voters they are supposed to be trying to attract.

  • terjeanderson

    Just for the record, Handel is not “a sitting Lt. Gov”, nor did she ever serve as Lieutenant Governor.

    She did serve on term as Georgia Secretary of State, before losing a race for Governor in 2010. After that, she briefly served as public policy directot for the Susan Komen Foundation, where she was ultimately fired for her controversial efforts to defund the group’s support for breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthoods across the country.

    (But I agree: what Perdue said was stupid and insulting. And with the backlash he probably hurt himself and gave some life into Handel’s candidacy, which hasn’t been getting much traction.)

  • Raj Err

    If the differences between each of us were not so striking, the ideas of individual worth and individual liberty would not be so important.

  • mabramso

    I stand corrected — got the office wrong. But she was elected statewide, and that was the main point. Thanks.

  • Oliver Ales

    Adam Smith’s claim that collectivism unleashes evil is well supported by the history of dictators who have claimed that society’s well-being depends upon its subjugation.

  • drthomasedavis

    That’s telling him Adela. A good education is a plus, but having degree in hand and having a real education and essential knowledge are different eggs. I have a hunch you will do well in this life you have been dealt. You have a start; go for more.
    Dr. Thomas E. Davis, Colonel, USA (ret)

  • Adela Wagner

    Thank you Dr. Davis, I have done pretty much what I wanted. I have retired from the public sector. Now have my own home based gig, and my husband is retired also(he’s almost 70 now). We bought land and built a house out of mostly salvaged materials, and along with my little business, we are also small growers of vegetables that we sell and donate. I wanted skills I could use for bartering when needed. ♥

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