WHAT OTHERS SAY: Gubernatorial candidate Spence has troubling campaign oversight

Monday, January 16, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CST

Oversights on campaign resumes rarely yield understatements.

Dave Spence, a Republican candidate for governor, did not receive a degree in economics from the University of Missouri School of Business, despite a previous posting on his website and a flier distributed in December.

The flier, obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, reads: "After high school, Dave attended University of Missouri-Columbia School of Business and earned a degree in Economics."

The information is only partially accurate, which is a polite way of saying it is false.

Spence earned a bachelor of science degree in home economics from the Columbia campus, but not its business school.

Spence told The Associated Press: "I have said all along that I will not or do not lie." He later added: "I will take responsibility for this. I did not catch the mistake on early campaign literature."

Campaign personnel now have fallen on the sword of criticism; campaign manager Jared Craighead characterized the reference to the business school as a "staff oversight that was corrected."

Spence, a political novice, is touting his business experience in his effort to unseat incumbent Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

Did someone in the Spence camp inadvertently omit the word home from home economics?

Or, is it more likely the association with domestic and household responsibilities didn’t fit comfortably with the business-leader image the campaign is attempting to convey?

Ultimately, we must ask why this error occurred.

If it was an oversight, voter confidence in accuracy and attention to detail has been rattled.

If it was deliberate, voters deserve to be troubled by a disingenuous portrayal. They also have ample reason to be offended if someone attempted to put one over on them.

In this day and age, fact checking is comprehensive and thorough in political races — particularly at the level of our state’s chief executive.

An error of this magnitude is inexcusable.

Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.

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