Bending the Law

We’re used to spintastic e-mails, but one from the Clinton campaign yesterday seemed especially dizzy. In an e-mail titled “Just Embellished Words,” the campaign wrote that “Sen. Obama consistently and falsely claims that he was a law professor” ( which he has indeed done ). The e-mail backs it up with links to Lynn Sweet and Hotline , both of which confirm that Obama was never a professor.

Unsatisfied, we triple-checked with the University of Chicago, where Obama purports to have been a constitutional-law professor. Sure enough, he wasn’t exactly a prof. Obama is considered a senior lecturer at the university, but he was never a professor. According to the Law School’s press office, he was plenty qualified to be a professor, but he just didn’t have the time. Instead of making him a professor, they gave him the senior lecturer gig, which means he didn’t have to publish scholarly works (and therefore wasn’t on tenure track).

Obama started teaching in 1993, when he taught a course called Current Issues in Racism and the Law. (He was a practicing lawyer at the time.) He taught a variety of courses every year through the 2003-04 school year, before he started campaigning in 2004 for his current Senate job.

So, on principle, Clinton’s spin is right—when Obama says he’s a professor of law, he’s misspeaking. Consider us spun.