Lies About Bush


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Bush IQ

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Presidential IQ

Claim: According to a study by the Lovenstein Institute, President Bush has the lowest IQ of all presidents of past 50 years.

Status: False.

Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2001]

The False Statement

President Bush Has Lowest IQ of all Presidents of past 50 Years
If late night TV comedy is an indicator, then there has never been as widespread a perception that a president is not intellectually qualified for the position he holds as there is with President GW Bush.

In a report published Monday, the Lovenstein Institute of Scranton, Pennsylvania detailed its findings of a four month study of the intelligence quotient of President George W. Bush.

Since 1973, the Lovenstein Institute has published it's research to the education community on each new president, which includes the famous "IQ" report among others.

According to statements in the report, there have been twelve presidents over the past 50 years, from F. D. Roosevelt to G. W. Bush who were all rated based on scholarly achievements, writings that they alone produced without aid of staff, their ability to speak with clarity, and several other psychological factors which were then scored in the Swanson/Crain system of intelligence ranking.

The study determined the following IQs of each president as accurate to within five percentage points:

147 .. Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) 132 .. Harry Truman (D)
122 .. Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)
174 .. John F. Kennedy (D)
126 .. Lyndon B. Johnson (D)
155 .. Richard M. Nixon (R)
121 .. Gerald Ford (R)
175 .. James E. Carter (D)
105 .. Ronald Reagan (R)
098 .. George HW Bush (R)
182 .. William J. Clinton (D)
091 .. George W. Bush (R)

or, in IQ order:

182 .. William J. Clinton (D)
175 .. James E. Carter (D)
174 .. John F. Kennedy (D)
155 .. Richard M. Nixon (R)
147 .. Franklin D. Roosevelt (D)
132 .. Harry Truman (D)
126 .. Lyndon B. Johnson (D)
122 .. Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)
121 .. Gerald Ford (R)
105 .. Ronald Reagan (R)
098 .. George HW Bush (R)
091 .. George W. Bush (R)

The six Republican presidents of the past 50 years had an average IQ of 115.5, with President Nixon having the highest IQ, at 155. President G. W. Bush was rated the lowest of all the Republicans with an IQ of 91. The six Democrat presidents had IQs with an average of 156, with President Clinton having the highest IQ, at 182. President Lyndon B. Johnson was rated the lowest of all the Democrats with an IQ of 126. No president other than Carter (D) has released his actual IQ, 176.

Among comments made concerning the specific testing of President GW Bush, his low ratings were due to his apparent difficulty to command the English language in public statements, his limited use of vocabulary (6,500 words for Bush versus an average of 11,000 words for other presidents), his lack of scholarly achievements other than a basic MBA, and an absence of any body of work which could be studied on an intellectual basis. The complete report documents the methods and procedures used to arrive at these ratings, including depth of sentence structure and voice stress confidence analysis.

"All the Presidents prior to George W. Bush had a least one book under their belt, and most had written several white papers during their education or early careers. Not so with President Bush," Dr. Lovenstein said. "He has no published works or writings, so in many ways that made it more difficult to arrive at an assessment. We had to rely more heavily on transcripts of his unscripted public speaking."

The Lovenstein Institute of Scranton Pennsylvania think tank includes high caliber historians, psychiatrists, sociologists, scientists in human behavior, and psychologists. Among their ranks are Dr. Werner R. Lovenstein, world-renowned sociologist, and Professor Patricia F. Dilliams, a world-respected psychiatrist.

This study was commissioned on February 13, 2001 and released on July 9, 2001 to subscribing member universities and organizations within the education community.

The Truth

Origins: No, this isn't a real news report, nor does it describe a real study. There isn't a "Lovenstein Institute" in Scranton, Pennsylvania (or anywhere else in the USA), nor do any of the people quoted in the story exist, because this is just another spoof that was taken too seriously.

The piece is simply a political jibe, made obvious by its ranking all the Democratic presidents of the last several decades as having high (even exceptionally high) IQs, while ranking all the Republican presidents from the same time frame as average to moderate in intelligence, with the current president and his father assigned below-average figures placing them at the very bottom of the list. (President Nixon is the sole exception, presumably because his reputation is still so tarnished that not even a high IQ measurement can yet redeem him in the court of public opinion.)

[Some noticeable errors: Although the study includes Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died in office in 1945, the report is described as covering presidents in office "over the past 50 years." Also not true is the claim that "all the Presidents prior to George W. Bush had a least one book under their belt" -- some of them authored no books until after becoming president, and George W. Bush did have a book to his credit before being elected president, 1999's A Charge to Keep. Plus, if there's a "Swanson/Crain" system for ranking intelligence, nobody else seems to have heard of it.]

In any case, IQ is a dodgy enough concept even when measured by tests designed for the purpose -- trying to guess not just relative rankings but specific IQ scores based solely on writings and speeches is bound to be error-prone. Based on President George H. Bush's extemporaneous speech-making, for example, he couldn't "speak with clarity" to save his life, but he was clearly far more intelligent than the insultingly low IQ assigned to him above. And a recent article reports President Kennedy's IQ as 119, far below the genius-level 174 ascribed to him here.

As obvious as this joke was, at least two publications were taken in by it: The Guardian [London] and The Southland Times [New Zealand]. Both ran the "Presidential I.Q." tale as a factual item (on 19 July and 7 August 2001 respectively). The Associated Press publicized The Guardian's error on 12 August, moving The Guardian to post a retraction on 14 August, and U.S. News & World Report clearly reported the I.Q. item as a hoax on 20 August, 2001.


'Doonesbury' Admits Being Stupid Enough to Believe Anti-Bush Hoax

Not many people have an IQ low enough to believe a left-wing lie that President Bush has half the IQ of Bill Clinton, but "Doonesbury" cartoonist Garry Trudeau was that foolish. Now he's finally admitting his stupidity.

Long after the hoax had been exposed, the apparently ill-read Trudeau used it as the basis for his comic strip Sunday.

But even his "apology" is as smarmy as his cartoon.

"Trudeau takes full responsibility, acknowledging the use of fictional material from an outside source instead of simply making it up as he usually does," his Web site says.

"The creator deeply apologizes for unsettling anyone who was under the impression that the President is, in fact, quite intelligent," says the statement, showing once again that "Doonesbury" is nothing more than leftist propaganda.

Trudeau told editors in an e-mail that a "usually reliable" source had informed him of a "study" from a non-existent "Lovenstein Institute" of Scranton, Pa., that cited so-called "world renowned" authorities using something called the "Swanson/Crain system of intelligence ranking."

Incredibly, the obviously phony "study" had also duped a columnist for London's liberal Guardian newspaper and spread to newspapers in Australia and New Zealand.

Of course, far more people saw the lie perpetuated in Trudeau's comic strip than will ever read the "apology" at his Web site. Not that he'll lose any sleep over that.



Gore's Grades Belie Image of Studiousness

By David Maraniss and Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, March 19, 2000; Page A01

If Al Gore is commonly thought of as a grind, the sort of fellow who during his school days would take notes in precise Roman numeral outline, strive mightily to ingratiate himself with teachers, and bring sterling report cards home to his demanding parents, his academic transcripts go some way toward subverting that notion.

From his lower school years at St. Albans to his incomplete effort at Vanderbilt law school, Gore was often an underachiever. Though his IQ numbers and aptitude test scores were well above average, his grades were uneven, never approaching the plateau of A's and B's that might be expected of one who possesses such a pedagogical demeanor. His generally middling college grades at Harvard in fact bear a close resemblance to the corresponding Yale marks of his presidential opponent, George W. Bush, whose studiousness and brainpower have been more open to question during this campaign.

Gore arrived at Harvard with an impressive 1355 SAT score, 625 verbal and 730 math, compared with Bush's 1206 total from 566 verbal and 640 math. In his sophomore year at Harvard, Gore's grades were lower than any semester recorded on Bush's transcript from Yale. That was the year Gore's classmates remember him spending a notable amount of time in the Dunster House basement lounge shooting pool, watching television, eating hamburgers and occasionally smoking marijuana. His grades temporarily reflected his mildly experimental mood, and alarmed his parents. He received one D, one C-minus, two C's, two C-pluses and one B-minus, an effort that placed him in the lower fifth of the class for the second year in a row.

For all of Gore's later fascination with science and technology, he often struggled academically in those subjects. The political champion of the natural world received that sophomore D in Natural Sciences 6 (Man's Place in Nature) and then got a C-plus in Natural Sciences 118 his senior year. The self-proclaimed inventor of the Internet avoided all courses in mathematics and logic throughout college, despite his outstanding score on the math portion of the SAT. As was the case with many of his classmates, his high school math grades had dropped from A's to C's as he advanced from trigonometry to calculus in his senior year.

When John C. Davis, a retired teacher and assistant headmaster at St. Albans, was recently shown his illustrious former pupil's college board achievement test scores, he inspected them closely with a magnifier and shook his head, chuckling quietly at the science results.

"Four eighty-eight! Terrible" Davis declared upon inspecting the future vice president's 488 score (out of a possible 800) in physics.

"Hmmmm. Chemistry. Five-nineteen. He didn't do too well in chemistry."

As Davis moved down the page, his magnifier settled on Gore's more promising achievement scores in other scholastic realms.

"English. Seven oh-five. Right at the top!"

"U.S. History. Seven oh-one. Not so bad."

Then he came to Gore's results in IQ tests taken in 1961 and 1964, at the beginning of his freshman and senior years. "One thirty-three and 134. Absolutely superb. That means tremendous ability."

These high IQ and achievement scores did not necessarily translate into equivalent high grades for Gore in high school English and history. From ninth grade (called Form III in the Anglophilic St. Albans culture) to his senior year (Form VI), he earned an equal number of C's and B's in English, but no A's. In history during those four years, he also moved between C's and B's until his senior year, when he broke through with an A-plus in Sacred Studies, a religious history course. He pulled steady C's for all three years of high school French. The one course in which he received straight A's was art, which he took all four years of high school.

"You have here a boy who shows a lot of potential," Davis said after inspecting Gore's tests and grades. "He was as a rule a hard worker, but he wasn't really interested in certain things, and when he wasn't so interested he tried faithfully to do what he was supposed to, though not necessarily very well."

Gore's reputation for being earnest and hardworking, if sometimes pedantic, is often contrasted with the personality of his political patron and White House boss, Bill Clinton, who is considered more extemporaneous. But they shared one surprising trait from their school years, a tendency to procrastinate on subjects that did not enthrall them and then cram at the last minute. Clinton once skipped his Yale law school classes for three months before borrowing a friend's notes, then ended up scoring better on the tests than his classmate did. Gore was less daring, but many of his St. Albans classmates remembered how during his senior year he often put off studying for exams until the night before, when he would sneak down to the 24-hour Little Tavern on Connecticut Avenue and cram all night in a back booth.

Clinton ended his secondary school career ranked fifth in his class of several hundred at the public Hot Springs High in Arkansas, while Gore left St. Albans ranked 25th in a senior class of 51. But reputation was everything in high school. The prestige of the private school in Washington, its history as a feeding ground for the Ivy League, and the confidence college admissions officers had when examining a St. Albans transcript--where there was no grade inflation and a C meant a C--all served Gore well when it came to getting into Harvard, the only school to which he had applied.

The late Canon Charles Martin, headmaster at St. Albans during Gore's era, used to say that he was "preparing his boys for the kingdom of heaven, not the kingdom of Harvard," but in fact he was doing both. Earlier in the century, St. Albans had been known as a pipeline for Princeton and Haverford, but that changed in the mid-1950s when Harvard decided it wanted more Washington and Virginia boys and accepted all 16 St. Albans boys who applied. By the time Gore's class came around in 1965, a recommendation from the St. Albans administration was about all it took for one of its students to get in.

Davis wrote Gore's recommendation, and said he was never concerned about the young man's transcript full of C's and B's and his middle rank in the class. "In Al's case he was what Harvard most wanted at that time," Davis said. "What they wanted was competent academic performance plus future potential. Plus they were very impressed by the fact that he was a political son. Colleges like Harvard, Princeton and Yale are just as excited to get important sons as top academic scholars. They want our boys as much as our boys want them. And Al was captain of the football team. Any nice big boy was welcome if he played football."

Gore flirted with English at Harvard, dreaming of a life as a novelist, but decided to make government his concentration. He got off to an uncertain start in that subject, with a C and C-minus in his first two courses, before righting himself. In his junior year, he earned a B, a B-plus and an A-minus in three government courses, and he aced his senior government thesis on the impact of television on the presidency, a strong finish that made him a cum laude graduate. His devotion to the subject by then was so intense that he gave much of his time to a not-for-credit seminar with his favorite professor, Richard Neustadt, an expert on the presidency. Bush, a history major, scored mostly B's in that subject, as was first reported in the New Yorker, though the five history courses he took his senior year were all pass-fail.

After serving in the military for two years, Gore returned to graduate school late in the summer of 1971, first taking religious studies courses at Vanderbilt and then entering the university's law school. His efforts in both instances were incomplete, reflecting the uncertainty he felt during that period about what he should do with his life. He had considered everything from writing to police work.

He took the religious studies courses while also working full time as a journalist at the Nashville Tennessean, and after getting off to a strong start with an A-minus in Ethics, he failed to complete any of the three courses he took in the fall of 1971, and those incompletes eventually lapsed into F's. He returned for another semester in the spring of 1972, when two more incompletes turned into F's. Two years later, he enrolled in law school and spent three semesters there taking heavy course loads while still working at the newspaper. He performed satisfactorily, with a high grade of 81 in Legal Writing and a low grade of 69 in Civil Procedures II. Partway through the spring semester in 1976, he decided to run for an open seat in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District. His mother, Pauline Gore, herself a lawyer, tried to persuade him to remain in school while running, but he withdrew, turning away for good from the academic life, while beginning a political career in which he increasingly took on the characteristics of a scholar.

Gore has never released his transcripts, which were obtained independently by The Washington Post. Parts of them have been cited as well by Bill Turque, a Newsweek writer who has written a biography of Gore titled "Inventing Al Gore."

The vice president chose not to comment on his grades and test scores, but his press secretary, Chris Lehane, responded with lighthearted sarcasm. "This just proves that many of the preconceived notions of Al Gore have been stiff and boring," Lehane said. "He in fact has a very rich and well-rounded background--artist, athlete and academic."

Source: The Washington Post Company

Bush Gets Bad Rap on Intelligence

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed ...
W. B. Yeats, "The Second Coming"
A week from today, the sun will rise on the second Bush presidency in a generation, in what for some may be a day of trepidation. Does Bush the Younger have what it takes to lead the nation in the new millennium?

It's a question that transcends concerns about George W. Bush's conservatism or a path to power marred by youthful indiscretions. It's not about ideology or character; it's a question of cognitive capacity.

The Spanish physician Juan Huarte in 1575 proposed one of the earliest recorded definitions of intelligence: learning ability, imaginativeness and good judgment. Undoubtedly, the mantle of the modern U.S. presidency imposes a steep learning curve and demands vision, wisdom and discretion.

Equally clear is this: Sheer intellectual brilliance does not cut it in the Oval Office.

In terms of brute brainpower, the smartest postwar presidents were Richard Nixon, a Duke Law School graduate with a reported IQ of 143; Jimmy Carter, who graduated in the top 10 percent of his Naval Academy class; and Rhodes scholar Bill Clinton, a graduate of Georgetown University and Yale Law School. Deeply flawed presidencies all, despite their potential.

In contrast, take high school graduate Harry Truman railroad worker, clerk, bookkeeper, farmer, road inspector and small-town postmaster or Ronald Reagan, sports announcer and B-list actor with mediocre college credentials.

Despite their intellectual limitations, both achieved substantial political success as president. And, to press home the point, there is Franklin D. Roosevelt, a top-tier president in rankings of historical greatness, whom the late Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes branded "a second-rate intellect but a first-class temperament."

Huarte's notion of intelligence comprises a mix of mental acumen and emotional discernment that provides a sound foundation for modern-day presidential success.

To put it bluntly, the president need not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but he does need a full deck of cards. He must be comfortable in his own skin, free of emotional demons, and surround himself with competent people. With apologies to Saturday Night Live's Stuart Smalley, the successful president need not be a towering giant, he just needs to be good enough, smart enough and, doggone-it, people must like him.

George W. Bush can be likable and charming. But, as the New York Times pondered in a front-page article on June 19, 2000, "is he smart enough to be president?"

Unlike John F. Kennedy, who obtained an IQ score of 119, or Al Gore, who achieved scores of 133 and 134 on intelligence tests taken at the beginning of his high school freshman and senior years, no IQ data are available for George W. Bush. But we do know that the young Bush registered a score of 1206 on the SAT, the most widely used test of college aptitude. (The more cerebral Al Gore obtained 1355.)

Statistically, Bush's test performance places him in the top 16 percent of prospective college students hardly the mark of a dimwit. Of course, the SAT is not designed as an IQ test. But it is highly correlated with general intelligence, to the tune of .80. In plain language, the SAT is two parts a measure of general intelligence and one part a measure of specific scholastic reasoning skills and abilities.

If Bush could score in the top 16 percent of college applicants on the SAT, he would almost certainly rank higher on tests of general intelligence, which are normed with reference to the general population. But even if his rank remained constant at the 84th-percentile level of his SAT score, it would translate to an IQ score of 115.

It's tempting to employ Al Gore's IQ:SAT ratio of 134:1355 as a formula for estimating Bush's probable intelligence quotient an exercise in fuzzy statistics that predicts a score of 119. If the number sounds familiar, it's precisely the IQ score attributed to Kennedy, whom Princeton political scientist Fred Greenstein, in "The Presidential Difference," commended as "a quick study, whose wit was an indication of a subtle mind."

As a final clue to Bush's cognitive capacity, consider data from Joseph Matarazzo's leading text on intelligence and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth: The average IQ is about 105 for high school graduates, 115 for college graduates and 125 for people with advanced professional degrees. With his MBA from Harvard Business School, it's not unreasonable to assume that Bush's IQ surpasses the 115 of the average bachelor's-degree-only college graduate.

George W. Bush has often been underestimated. Almost certainly, he's received a bad rap on the count of cognitive capacity. Indications are that, in the arena of mental ability, Bush is in the same league as John F. Kennedy, who graduated 65th in his high-school class of 110 and, in the words of one biographer, "stumbled through Latin, French, mathematics, and English but made respectable marks in physics and history."

The feisty, sometimes-irreverent Bush's mental acuity may lack a little of the sharpness of his tongue, but plainly it is sharp enough. The real test for the president-elect will be whether he possesses the emotional intelligence the triumph of reason over rigidity and restraint over impulse to steer the course.

Source: Aubrey Immelman / St. Cloud Times

A Charge to Keep

Written by: George W. Bush, Karen Hughes

Editorial Reviews:

The political biography, complete with life-altering turning points and a political philosophy for leading the United States into greatness, has become obligatory for those running for president--just one more thing to check off the "to do" list on the way to the Oval Office. A Charge to Keep is George W. Bush's offering: a light and breezy book mixing personal and political remembrances that proves heavy on chatty anecdotes and light on policy prescriptions. If you read the last chapter you'll sort of learn where George W. stands on most things, but still not really discern how he would actually run the country. There are no revelations, either personal or political: Bush's wild side and youthful indiscretions, like stealing a Christmas wreath from a New Haven hotel for his Yale fraternity, are touched on lightly when he discusses them at all. A Charge to Keep is so upbeat and positive, in describing the Houston woman to whom he was engaged in college and from whom he "gradually drifted apart," Bush says simply: "I still think the world of her, and our parting was friendly. We were very young, we lived in different places, and we gradually developed different lives."

George W. has been labeled a lightweight by some; A Charge to Keep will do nothing to dispel that notion. It features lots of Bush family memories and numerous mentions of George W.'s famous parents, including letters from his president father. George W. has followed closely in his father's footsteps, attending the same prep school and college. He even belonged to the same secret society at Yale, Skull and Bones. From college it was on to flight school and the Texas Air National Guard, Harvard Business School, and then (again, like his father) the Texas oil business and politics. George W. seems mostly in sync with his father on policy issues as well. "A thousand points of light" is transformed slightly to become "compassionate conservative," which pops up in the final chapter more than 10 times. Readers will come away knowing many of the experiences and events that have helped shaped George W., but his future is still an open book. --Linda Killian


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