In her interview with Rush Limbaugh which aired today, Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson asked the hate radio host what he thought of President Obama’s State of the Union address last week. “The State of Obama speech,” Limbaugh interjected, adding that he thought it “was defensive, petulant, immature, childish, sarcastic. He’s clearly angry, that he’s been rejected.”
Limbaugh — who had called Obama the “affirmative action candidate” during the 2008 campaign — claimed that Obama didn’t do his own work when he was a student:
LIMBAUGH: I think this is the first time in his life that there’s not a professor around to turn his C into an A or to write the law review article for him he can’t write. He’s totally exposed and there’s nobody to make it better. I think he’s been covered for all his life. The fact that his agenda failed this year is the best thing that could have happened to this country.
Of course, Limbaugh has absolutely no basis to make this claim. Politico reported that Obama “left a scant paper trail,” and there is only one unsigned Harvard Law Review article that has been attributed to him. But as Bradford Berenson — a lawyer who worked in the Bush White House and served with Obama on the Harvard Law Review — told ThinkProgress, Obama did not write abundantly because he served as the editor who reviewed other students’ writings. Berenson added that Limbaugh’s charges are “not accurate”:
These charges are not accurate. As a 2L [second year law] student, Barack wrote the same amount as all of his 2L peers, although by policy of the Harvard Law Review, no student writing is signed or attributed to individual authors. As a 3L, it is true that he did not write, but that is because he was the President of the Review. Because the President does so much editing, including of all the major faculty articles, he is not expected to author original pieces himself and almost never does so. I saw Barack hunched over manuscripts editing articles on many a late night at Gannett House. He simply could not have been elected President if he was not regarded by his fellow editors as being among the best legal writers and legal minds in his class.
Obama “quickly distinguished himself as a top student” at Harvard Law, where he was “chosen through the strength of his writing and grades to serve as one of 80 student editors on the law review.” In his second year, he was elected the first black president of the Review.
One fellow student recalled Obama’s leadership as the Review’s top editor. “When he sent [my article] back, it had lots of tiny print all over it and I was just furious,” she said. “My heart just sank. But it was accompanied by specific examples of how parts could be made better. He wound up getting an enthusiastic response from a very tired writer.”
The President is the author of two best-selling books, both of which he wrote himself.