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Rep. Kristi Noem is already trading on her freshly minted college diploma.
A week after the South Dakota Republican walked at graduation for her bachelor’s degree in political science, she put it to use criticizing President Barack Obama in the Republican weekly address.
“I’m a proud wife, mother, rancher and a Member of the United States House of Representatives,” she said in the address. “Last week, I took on another title: college graduate.”
Noem argued that Obama’s economic policies have hurt other “recent college graduates” and criticized the president for the recent tussle over student loan interest rates.
Both Republicans and Democrats back measures to keep the interest rates on Stafford loans from doubling when a 2007 law expires at the end of June, but they differ on how to pay for it.
Democrats want to close a tax loophole on small businesses, while Republicans want to eliminate a preventative health care fund.
In the address, Noem criticized the president for “politicizing this issue” by attacking the Republican proposal.
“The challenges young people and women face in this economy need to be addressed, not exploited for political gain,” Noem said.
Noem dropped out of college at the age of 22 to take over the family farm after her father was killed in an accident. Since 2008 she’s taken undergraduate courses online, earning her bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State University last Saturday.
“One of the main reasons I finished school was to set an example for my children,” she said in the address. “That’s as good of a reason as any for leaders in Washington to put aside this nonsense, focus on the real issues and work together to get our economy back on track.”
Correction: May 14
An earlier version of this article had an incorrect reference to when Rep. Kristi Noem earned her bachelor's degree. Although Noem walked in the graduation ceremony in May 2012, she earned her degree in December 2011.