December 26th, 2008
06:55 PM ET
9 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. Walley

    Those of you who think that Bush is a good man please go to Arlington National Cemetery and see what his lies and greed have caused. The man belongs in prison for crimes against humanity along with his puppet master Chaney. He claims to be a good Christian man but his actions just prove that this is another lie from a man who probably can’t even spell truth much less know what it means. How do you Bush lovers think the people who have lost their homes because of this egomaniac’s stupidity when they read that this sorry excuse for a man bought a two-million dollar home to retire in? Be real people Bush and his Gestapo have done more to hurt this country than the maniacs of 9/11.

    December 26, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  2. RG, Texas


    Bush can read?

    From what I know, that no big deal Karl – anyone can beat Bush in a reading contest.

    Whats next? An IQ contest!

    December 26, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  3. DLH

    Thank God Kerry didn't win, he would have challenged his advisors to watch more Vietnam home-movies of John Kerry than him. As dumb as you liberals think Bush is, John Kerry had a lower GPA in college.

    December 26, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  4. RG, Texas

    Hey Intelligent Voter

    They should make it a Federal offense for 'intelligent voters' like you to vote for the same idiot twice, and not even realizing the blunder you made, even now.

    December 26, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  5. Gene Venable

    It's true that there was no mention of comprehension - saying that you read a book is meaningless. Of course, neither Bush nor Rove have anything significant to do, so they both read a lot.

    For the person who criticised us for not mentioning what we've read lately - I am reading Jane Austen novels, something I hadn't got around to till this year, currently Emma after Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park (I'm doing them in order, obviously). I am also reading The Spectator, and influential daily journal written by Addison and Steele in the 1700s. And I'm reading and have read zillions of other books this year, too many to count.

    December 26, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  6. Doosh Booosh

    Just another lie... from someone who did better as the ...
    cheerleader ..!! .......rather ... than the manager!!

    December 26, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  7. Sean

    Could be that Bush is literate and just corrupt.

    December 26, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  8. Sean

    I hardly think an active president has the time to read literature.

    December 26, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  9. Linda in MS

    Thanks, Southern Hottie.

    December 26, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  10. Gregg

    Just watch David Lettermans GREATEST MOMENTS IN PRESIDENTIAL SPEECHES to see just how articulate "W" really is ..........nothing against comic books but that is the extent of GW'S comprehensive abilities

    December 26, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  11. Mike Mc

    He forgot to add the Satanic Bible

    December 26, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  12. Bored of Education

    I didn't even know that Bush could read!

    December 26, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  13. Milhouse van Houten

    Shrub likes books with lots of pictures,lots and lots of pictures........

    December 26, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  14. Cid

    I think it's quite possible that George read that many books cover to cover....the front cover and the back cover BUT it still doesn't mean he knew what he was reading and as for the person who suggested sending a copy of the Constitution to Cheney please please please DON'T send any matches!

    December 26, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  15. good riddance GWB ... and his sheep

    Carl, audio books don't count

    December 26, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  16. Karl Rove

    Even harder ..yesterday , I beat a one legged man in an a$$ kicking contest.
    I rule

    December 26, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  17. windfall

    what a load of crap. Bush reads comic books and People magazine on the toilet.

    December 26, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  18. He Reads???

    At least Uncurious George can recall having read "Green Eggs and Ham" (the last book he read)– unlike Sarah Palin, who could only recall: "All of 'em any of 'em that are put before me over the years." To vote for those bird brains proves how much Republicans hate this country.

    December 26, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  19. Steve

    I have no problem believing that Bush read all those books. Contrary to popular belief, he isn't stupid.

    Arrogant, incurious, authoritarian, simplistic and amoral? Yes. But not stupid.

    December 26, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  20. Saadat

    Usually people who are avid readers are also eloquent speakers. It is possible that the number of gaffes the President has had in his speeches could be due to stress, or perhaps his case does not follow what his normally expected from the well read population. The layman cannot be sure which is the case, since it is equally plausible that this entire news story is inaccurate, as there have been a number of inaccuracies emanating from this administration.

    December 26, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  21. Sue

    I believe that Bush read all these books. Because he sure as HELL didn't do anything else while he was in office!

    December 26, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  22. Doubtful

    I'm just amazed that the leader of the free world with so many things going on, like a recession, and two wars has time to ready a book or two a week, how's that possible? Especially when so many are these huge historic pieces, as well as the Bible.

    It just feels like Rowe continuing to spin W as something he's not. When you read the Rowe article is sounds desperately like part of a plan to reshape the president's failed legacy under a weak excuse that he was a misunderstood president, that people never gave him the intellectual credit he was due.

    December 26, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  23. Desmond Michael

    I fail to see how this is of any importance or relevance in a time of war and economic turmoil. I mean it's cool and all that the President reads such educated history books, but shouldn't he be trying to solve the country's problems instead?

    December 26, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  24. Dave Roth

    Yup you are all right, President Bush is an idiot. He's the idiot that won the hardest job in the world to get not just once, but twice.
    It never ceases to amaze me that the same people that call President Bush and idiot are the same people that think he is the evil mastermind that plotted 9/11 so he could manipulate the oil markets.

    December 26, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  25. Chris

    This story isn't as newsworthy as the one CNN did awhile ago about people who had proof of Sasquatch...and it's a lot less believable.

    December 26, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
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