A Gentleman, Yes, But Not Yet a Scholar

Aren't you just dying to know what Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is saying about his friends in high places at Arizona State University? And has the gossip mill targeted the exact people responsible for deciding President Obama was worthy of a commencement invitation but no honorary degree? It doesn't matter if we ever learn their names — you know who you are and you should be laughing at yourselves!

I can't imagine how that meeting went. Let's invite the president of the United States — a new president, an immensely popular president, the first African-American president — to be our speaker. Wait, he hasn't really spent enough time in his field to earn the degree typically conferred upon each speaker at graduation. But he's so appealing, we'll invite him anyway.

"It's our practice to recognize an individual for his body of work, somebody who's been in their position for a long time," Sharon Keeler, an ASU spokeswoman, told The Associated Press at the time. "His body of work is yet to come. That's why we're not recognizing him with a degree at the beginning of his presidency."

Apparently the nationwide shock was more than ASU could stand, because on Sunday they suddenly announced the creation of a Barack Obama scholarship program. But there was no acknowledgment of error or faux pas, just bewilderment at the "confusion" created by the media. When in doubt, blame the media (it works for Sarah Palin).

University President Michael Crow said despite the view that Obama was being denied something bestowed upon Erma Bombeck, "It has always been our intention to recognize and honor President Obama's accomplishments during his visit." He added, "I apologize for the confusion surrounding our invitation to President Obama to address ASU students at commencement."

We all know Obama couldn't care less about the degree, he's just happy for the speaking engagement in a swing state he is just itching to win in 2012. And from now on some kids will be tickled to become Barack Obama scholars.

Everybody wins except for those oh-so-selective big cheeses at ASU who thought it was a good idea to keep a president out of an exclusive club.


DO YOU CREDIT OBAMA FOR THE PIRATE RESOLUTION? WILL THERE BE A NEXT TIME? Ask A.B. returns Monday, April 20. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and comments to askab@thehill.com. Thank you.