Campaigning a few miles from Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired in 1861, Tim Scott described last week how he was born into poverty and a broken home, much like Barack Obama.
“My dad was gone by the time I was seven,” the black candidate for the House of Representatives told a mixed group of students at Fort Dorchester High School in North Charleston. “I was flunking out of high school. I failed geography, civics, Spanish and English. When you fail Spanish and English, you are not bilingual, you are bi-ignorant.”
But the conclusions that Scott, 45, drew were very different from those of Obama. When he was 15, a man who ran a Chick-fil-A fast-food restaurant taught him “that there was a way to think my way out of the worst conditions”. Scott went on to became a small businessman and a proud “conservative Republican”.