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Video surfaces of Romney praising 'diploma mill' Utah school

Published October 11, 2012 10:20 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The liberal magazine Mother Jones, which brought you the Mitt Romney-47 percent video that shook up the presidential race, is out with a new piece about Romney speaking to a Utah-based college and praising the late W. Cleon Skousen, a fringe conservative political figure.

Romney appears in a video for the unaccredited George Wythe University to introduce Glenn Beck, then a conservative luminary riding high with popular radio and television shows.

"I salute to those of you in this room tonight," Romney says on the video posted by Mother Jones. "We're all united in moving forward the cause of liberty and building men and women of virtue and wisdom, diplomacy and courage, which is part of mission statement of the university itself."

The magazine notes that the Justice Department has labeled George Wythe University as a "diploma mill" and it's drop in enrollment in recent years to 60 from a time when the school was looking to expand.

But the most salient part of the story is tying Romney to Skousen, who was a professor of Romney's at Brigham Young University and author of the controversial books The Five Thousand Year Leap and The Making of America. Skousen's writings included parts noting the "blessings of slavery," and claims that the world was being controlled by a secretive cabal of bankers.

You can read more of the Mother Jones piece and see Romney's introduction video here.

UPDATE: The George Wythe University has responded to the Mother Jones piece, saying the magazine's use of the term "diploma mill" borders on libel and taking issue with many aspects of the story.

In a statement, the school's Board of Trustees says the magazine omitted several facts, including that it no longer awarded credit based on life experiences.

"The former tolerance of such credit has been unequivocally condemned by the school, just as we likewise condemn the irresponsible and deceptive pseudo-journalism of Mother Jones," the Trustees said.

You can read the full response here.

— Thomas Burr

@thomaswburr