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. Scott

    etl, give him a break. People complained about him being stupid, now you complain that he shouldn't be reading. He's probably learned more from reading during his presidency than you've learned your entire life.

    December 26, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. earle,florida

    God Bless, Karl! I pray that if Jeb gets the nod for Florida's Senate he heads up the"Team Bush Dynasty", because Mr. Rove, I salute you and your unselfish patriotic bravado during these difficult times,... God Bless the Uniter's backbone,...?

    December 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. DOC

    ...and I quote:


    December 26, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. Richard Rohde

    Bushed, so should Hussein Obama, Blago, Charlie Rangle, the Banking Queen, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, William Jefferson, the entire Ford family of Memphis, Kwame Fitzpatrick, George Soros, Pelosi, Dingy Harry Reid, all of ACORN. They actually committed crimes, but they are the liberalcratic elite leadership.

    December 26, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  5. Boston Irish

    Hey, I guess if Rove can lie about everything else, he can lie about the number of books he read. Just saying "I read these books" doesn't make it so. Checking them out of the library doesn't mean you read them either. Reading only the title doesn't count. Also doesn't count unless he could comprehend what he supposedly "read". Since he doesn't comprehend what the public feels about him, chances are he didn't comprehend anything longer than a three letter word.

    December 26, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. Nan

    Are they kidding? Bush's speed is "Dick and Jane"!

    December 26, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. Mike O'Brien

    George W. can read ? That's not, what his mom says.. Mike in Montana

    December 26, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. mark hesling

    Wow. I'm impressed...he can read!!

    December 26, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. Texas Teacher

    Oh, come on.... do you really expect us to believe that Geo. Bush can read? Least of all 95 books in a year. If did, he only read the cliff notes! Had he read that many books during his entire office, he would not have allowed the stupid and evil things he did to happen! Seriously...... we can blame Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, and that ilk for running this country into the ground! Bush does not have the intelligence to have come up with those decisions...

    Pa lease... I mean seriously... 🙂

    December 26, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  10. Loretta Yo

    SO WHAT? WHO CARES? They both belong in jail.

    December 26, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  11. Skippy

    I wonder which one of them read 1 fish, 2 fish, red fish, blue fish by the good doctor...........

    December 26, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. God Help Us

    Hopefully they will have time in jail to read as many books as they want.

    December 26, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. SMR

    Read yes but can they comprehend? CROOKS

    December 26, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  14. WackyObacky

    I'll bet BIG money that none of the usual CNN Bush Bashers have read a book in decades. People Magazine does not count...

    December 26, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. David M

    Lets see, the acting president read less books than a guy that has been unemployed this year and has time on his hands?

    To quote Al Micheals: "Do you believe in miracles?"

    December 26, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. David Goldman






    December 26, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. Omari - Phx

    The President can read?

    December 26, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. Pat Omaha, NE

    I didn't know all those books were available as talking books. I suppose he could have listened to them as he travelled back and forth to his Crawford ranch for ANOTHER vacation! I like to listen to talking books as I go to and from Colorado/Wyoming for vacation. Of course, I've not been able to travel for awhile because of the price of gas...I wonder if Mr. Bush will be using the revenue from these huge gas prices to get himself
    more books so he can beat Rove?

    December 26, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Bush can read?

    must be a joke

    December 26, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  20. Bea


    December 26, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  21. irene

    he can read?

    December 26, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. John in Ohio

    Color me surprised.

    Speaking of coloring, did Bush's coloring books count?

    From the looks of the book list, Rove and Bush prefer to read about wars, not actually go and fight in them. Ain't privilege great?

    December 26, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Put Bush, Cheney and Rove all in one pot and boil them because that's exactly where they belong.

    December 26, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. Chuck

    So thats why I lost my job...........he was too busy reading!!!!

    December 26, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. Jeanne H.

    Bush? Read? Yeah, right! uh huh!!!

    December 26, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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