December 26th, 2008
06:55 PM ET
6 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

    Modern liberals are apologists for idealogy above philosophy, persons so consumed with a perspective that anything not in step with their point of view is to be bashed and lambasted from any and all angles. The posts on this board only show the limited minds of the anti-Bush fifth column.

    December 26, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  2. Carole

    Does a bag of pretzels come with Dubya's book?

    December 26, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  3. Lee

    Nice reading list – but the real questions are: 1. Does he finish the books? 2. Does he actually learn something from them?

    December 26, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  4. Bob

    OK, regardless of your political stance, ridiculous name-calling like "Dumbya" or emphasizing the Hussein in Obama's name derogatorily really adds nothing to the world or to the democratic process. I don't care if you're Democrat or Republican, but please make actual, intelligent arguments instead of putting out this blathering filth.

    December 26, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  5. The Real GOP

    It amazes me how many people are so willing to slander a president who has kept them safe for the last 7 years. You may not like the president, but at least give him credit for not using the office to advocate some sort of celebrity status. He wasn't renting out the Lincoln bedroom to rich Hollywood elites. You moronic liberals are so idiotic and narrowminded. You call President Bush stupid, but how many of you graduated from Yale? Sure, you can pull a few strings to get in, but you have to possess the mental energy to actually graduate. And don't forget his grades were higher than your previous savior and hero, John "Herman Munster" Kerry. The quarter of Americans, who, according to CNN polls, still respect the president, are the Americans who still believe in the greatness of America and the truth of American sovereignty. So, I am one of those 25 percent who will say Godspeed, Mr. President. Please remember that there are still many people who believe in you and realize the tough job you took on while you were in office.

    December 26, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  6. Stevet

    There is no way this President has read this many books in a year. He goes to bed at 8 – 10 o'clock every night. Supposedly, he's running the free world during the day. He would have to be among the world's fastest readers to achieve this rate, or else be staying up until the wee hours of the night to accomlish this literary feat of consumption. The smart money says this "contest" between Bush and Rove is a simplistic and childish attempt to bolster the President's shoddy intellectual bona fides. Swing....and a big miss.

    December 26, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  7. timmy the dying boy

    Aw, he's such an easy target:

    It doesn't count as reading a book if you only look at the pictures in the middle, especially if you still move your lips while doing so.

    December 26, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  8. charles

    All of this Bush bashing by you liberals is sad. I wonder if you will be just as critical of Obama during the next 4 years or will you put on the same Clinton goggles you've had packed away for the next time a Dumocrat got elected POTUS. I don't know why this stupid little reading contest is news but apparently they must be trying to reduce their coverage of Obama since all the other MSM can't seem get off his jock. I'm thankful that most of you idiots posting on this board only represent a fraction of American society. I would hate to believe you actually represent the vast majority. This country would truly be on the way to destruction if that were the case.

    December 26, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  9. Dave

    Rove read how to dismantle the Constitution; Bush read comic books. Who won?

    December 26, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  10. johncw2938

    The last paragraph says that Bush read 40 books this year, and 95 books in 2006. This is contrary to the implication two paragraphs earlier that the tally was 110-95 this year.

    But lets be fair...95 books in a year isnt bad...

    December 26, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  11. Therman Dabler

    Small minority? Obama won in in a relative landslide.

    December 26, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  12. Voted for Obama

    For Dave Roth...you seem to forget our current president DID NOT win election twice. The first election was given to him. Now Obama WON an election.

    December 26, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  13. John Shaw

    Could some one possibly try to tell Bush & Rove that we (America) are supposed to be a Republic and why we are not supposed to be a Democracy. Perhaps someone has an extra copy of Aristotle's papers. Or they could Google " Aristotle government republic " and also learn about checks and balances with oversight/regulation, Yes sadly we cannot trust everyone especially in profit making adventures! John
    http://www.spiritualpeaceproject.com/

    December 26, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  14. curtis in WI

    Of course Rove read more books. Shrub still has a job, no matter how poorly he does it, and Rove spent a large part of the year without one. Of course, his unemployment was because of criminality, so he gets no sympathy, but still.

    December 26, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  15. Alicia

    To REAL GOP.....9-11 happened on the BUSH WATCH!!!

    The RECESSION we are all now in happened on the BUSH WATCH!!

    Don't you all have a race or ethnic group to make fun of?

    December 26, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  16. Another Democracy

    Coming straight from India – I lived in states for some good years and was very critical of bush but after seeing what's happening in India I have to give it to him – he kept US of A safe for 7 years.

    December 26, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  17. carol sullivan

    karl bye bye you are a fat piece of you know what go eat another cheeseburger you and dick chaney need more than shoes thrown at you bye bye

    December 26, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  18. forthepeople

    Who needs SNL when you can read this comments. Hilarious!!!!

    December 26, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  19. Jamsmith

    Republicans need to stop calling themselves conservatives. It makes those of us who actually are look bad.

    December 26, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  20. Mike

    I cannot believe this guy made it to president twice with the help of so many people (even if the first time it was a stolen presidency).

    The United States should have the courage to deal on its own land and terms with this people, either as war criminals or checking their facts for any other of so many other crimes and felonies committed while in office.

    Yes, it is unlikely, may set a dangerous precedent. That's why the case should be made solid charges. If you cannot handle the international implications of war criminal charges, find a corruption charge for at least some of these people.

    December 26, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  21. Giggle...

    Grey Eagle..you ROCK! I wouldn't mind reading the whole thing :) :):)
    ROFLing and your little poetry there.

    Well Bush beat me in the contest..but then again I Read the book ROOTS by Alex Haley by the time I was in 5th grade..why???? because there weren't any books left in the library in the elementary level for me to read.....

    Bush probably read all the easy ones (and not while in elementary school either..he probably wrote his final paper on the pros and cons of Green Eggs and Ham)) . . And besides..any history is better than HIS history as it will be written. I cannot imagine the poor ghost writer that is gonna have to write his memoirs for him. Wow...you couldn't pay me enough.

    December 26, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  22. Collin

    Therman Dabler – Reagan won by a landslide. Obama won by a "demacratic landslide".

    December 26, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  23. Steven in Charleston

    So, either the Bush White House is lying (again), or our current President is spending a lot of valuable time engaged in some sort of macho competition when he should be focusing on the challenges facing this nation.

    December 26, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  24. Giggle...

    Oh and Chris W...in Tampa..can I have some of that wave of Kool Aide too?

    For all the reading Bush may have done..he learned nada, zilch, or maybe once thing..how to fictionalize reality to make it look better than it is. I wonder if he's ever tried to sell a tiger his own coat?

    December 26, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  25. Joshua Eaton

    Unfortunately, reading does not equal comprehension and knowledge does not equal wisdom. However much of the former President Bush does or does not have, her certainly doesn't any of the latter, for "by their fruits ye shall know them."

    December 26, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
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