December 26th, 2008
06:55 PM ET
5 years ago

Bush loses book race for third straight year, says Rove

Rove bested Bush’s book total for a third straight year.
Rove bested Bush’s book total for a third straight year.

(CNN) - He wasn’t on the ballot this year, but President Bush still lost – to Karl Rove.

For the third consecutive year, Rove has bested Bush in their annual reading contest, the former presidential advisor writes in today’s Wall Street Journal.

The president's reading list this year was weighted towards historical chronicles of conflict, from David Halberstam's "The Coldest Winter" and Rick Atkinson's "Day of Battle" to Stephen W. Sears's "Gettysburg" and James M. McPherson's "Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief."

It also included President Grant's "Personal Memoirs," Jon Meacham's "American Lion," James M. McPherson's "Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief" and Jacobo Timerman's "Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number."

The contest began when Rove made a New Year’s resolution to finish a book a week in 2006. “The competition soon spun out of control. We kept track not just of books read, but also the number of pages and later the combined size of each book's pages - its ‘Total Lateral Area,’” writes Rove.

“At year's end, I defeated the president, 110 books to 95. My trophy looks suspiciously like those given out at junior bowling finals. The president lamely insisted he'd lost because he'd been busy as Leader of the Free World.”

That year’s contest drew headlines over the lengthy list of Bush's books, which reportedly Andrew Roberts’s "History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900," Nathaniel Philbrick’s "Mayflower," and Albert Camus’s "The Stranger," according to Rove.

Bush’s total has dropped each year, says his former advisor: from 95 books in 2006, to 51 in 2007, to just 40 in 2008, with less than a week to go until the end of the year.


Filed under: Karl Rove • Popular Posts • President Bush
soundoff (287 Responses)
  1. David

    this isn't newsworthy.

    December 26, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. J R French

    Did anyone test his reading level for comprehension or vocabulary? As a teacher, I know it is one thing to 'read' a book, and another to comprehend it. I doubt Bush is a fast reader; or did have 'the time' to read many books, if in fact this is more than a political gimmick.

    December 26, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Mecrob

    lol... go figure.

    December 26, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. Mecrob

    lol... go figure

    December 26, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. certainly is newsworthy

    he can read?

    December 26, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. shucks

    All about war. Go figure. What a surprise. Caught me off guard. Really. NOT!

    December 26, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  7. Apples for sale

    Dont let them kid you,he hasnt finished reading"My Pet Goat" yet.I hope they both get plenty of reading time in Leavenworth.

    December 26, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. John

    This one's just too easy...

    December 26, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. LM75

    Bush can read? I didn't know that.

    December 26, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. AEK

    Add to both lists:
    • Old MacDonald Had a Farm But Lost it to Foreclosure
    • Little Golden Book of World Economic Failures
    • VERY Grimm Fairy Tales of Bad Foreign Policy
    • Curious George Screws the Environment
    • Richard Scary's Best Endangered Species Book Ever

    December 26, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Big Al C.

    He is probably the most disrespected person on earth. Does any foreign leader have any respect for Bush as a person?

    The only thing that the entire world wants out of Bush is him out of office. Most everyone knew if his mouth was open he was telling another lie. Except his good ole Arab oil buddies and their families.

    December 26, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. etl

    I would hope he would lose because he should be spending time trying to fix the mess our nation is in rather than reading for pleasure.

    December 26, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Blackflon

    J R French......have you always been so ignorant?

    December 26, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. BUSHED!!!

    Bush and Rove Should be reading behind BARS!!!!!!

    December 26, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Mesa Mick

    Of course Bush lost – his books did not have as many pictures as usual...

    December 26, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. John from California

    Rove and Bush, no one care about any of you two...Just leave...

    December 26, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. jimtranr in Oregon

    Who's Bush's bookie?

    December 26, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. AnaB

    I don't even know what to say about this one...

    December 26, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. no duh!

    Well, beating an illiterate in a reading contest is nothing to be proud of...

    December 26, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. Cali Mike

    You didn't credit him for Green Eggs and Ham, Run Spot Run, or The Cat in the Hat. Give credit where credit is due. He still read more than Sarah " I err...read...everything that has been put in front of me....over all these years...like" Palin

    December 26, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. joseph

    READING!!! Why not have Bush and Palin compete with each other.That'll be a howl.

    December 26, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Did Bush have someone read to him and explain the big words?

    December 26, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. Sye the Pychic

    I see alot of reading time ahead of them in a prison library.

    December 26, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. sunshine

    america is going down the drain and we are talking about reading books and selling calendars.

    December 26, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. Will

    It most certainly is newsworthy. This from the same site where a headline proclaimed "No good way to tell kids they have cancer." These breaking in-depth stories make CNN the one stop source for hard-hitting news!

    December 26, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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