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Monday, December 5, 2016

By John McCormick and Billy House, Bloomberg News (TNS)

In modern American politics, you don’t hear many stories about college dropouts moving into the White House.

Scott Walker wants to change that. The Wisconsin governor never finished his degree at Marquette University, dropping out of the Milwaukee school during the spring of his senior year.

His lack of a degree was one of the questions that arose Tuesday during his meeting in Washington with dozens of Republican U.S. House members, according to lawmakers at the session.

Walker, who in recent days has become increasingly more affirmative about the likelihood of a Republican presidential bid, is also meeting privately with social conservatives in Washington. He’s said he will make an announcement about his decision after the Wisconsin legislature completes a two-year budget plan, likely in late June.

Representatives Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Dave Brat of Virginia, who attended the meeting that Wisconsin’s Republican congressional delegation held for lawmakers to meet the governor, both recounted Walker’s answer to a question about his lack of college degree. They said Walker told the group he was offered a job during his senior year and took it.

The Washington Post reported in February that friends remember Walker getting a job at an American Red Cross office near the campus. Some also remember hearing that one of his parents had a health problem or about financial stress on the family, the newspaper said.

Walker argued the lack of that bullet point on his resume is a potential political advantage, telling the lawmakers — as Cole recalled it — that 68 percent of American adults don’t have college degrees. It “plays in my favor,” Cole quoted Walker as telling the group.

In Wisconsin, 46.7 percent of the population reports having some college education or an associate’s degree, according to the most recently available American Community Survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Nationwide, 45.5 percent report some college or an associate’s degree.

“It is an elitist question,” Cole said.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr