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. SOMEONE PLEASE THROW ANOTHER PAIR OF SHOES @ GW!!!

    what is their I.Q's?

    I'm sure Bush & Rove combined I.Q's is not even up to half of Barack Hussein Obama's....

    It's very telling that the less GW Bush reads in the last days of his presidency, the more the american people & economy suffered untold hardships – skyrocketting food prices, gas prices on the upswing (until recently), record breaking housing foreclosures, wall street meltdown, american automakers debacle, rising unemployment, etc, etc,...

    GW Bush surely is the WORST PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD, EVER!!!

    December 26, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. Prop. 8

    Dumb and Dumber the only loser are Americans.

    December 26, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. Noah

    still more vitriolic venom from the lunatics on the Left. Perhaps you are better suited to discuss Obama's pectoral muscles or his golf swing?

    December 26, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. TURN TEXAS BLUE

    LOST THE BOOK RACE! lol! HE SHOULD OF LOST THE ELECTION RACE IN 2000 and 2004!! but instead he lost our COuntry

    December 26, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. Casey

    I'm so glad they have the time to sit down and relax with a good book.......NOT!!! Both are complete idiots, just freakin' idiots!! Neither one would know a good thing if it was right in front of their faces, either! My only regret is that these two clowns and Cheney aren't being convicted of basically screwing the citizens of the U.S.A.

    December 26, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. Joshua

    It's interesting how everyone thinks that Bush is so stupid. The guy went to Yale and to Harvard, was a successful businessman, owned a baseball team, became the first Governor in Texas history to be elected to consecutive four year terms and – whether you think he “stole” the election through nepotism or not – made it to the Presidency of the United States of America… and got REELECTED even when he was wildly unpopular. Suffice it to say that no one making asinine comments here will ever achieve even ONE of these feats, let alone all of them.

    I’m not the biggest George W. Bush fan in the world (I do think he can read a book), but maybe he’s not the stupid one here…

    December 26, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. Mel

    Wait, did anyone tell Bush that reading the book summaries off of Amazon didn't count as actually "reading" the book?

    December 26, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. ttofast70@comcast.net

    George Bush READS???????????????????!!!!!!!!!! Do Archie Comic Books count? Is he doing picture books? I swear the guy is dislexic. Has anyone checked him out?

    December 26, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. Chris

    It would be interesting to see what books President Bush read throughout his Presidency. It will definitely give Presidential historian something to think about as the determine what his Presidency has meant. Outside of Lincoln books, one wonders what President-elect Obama is reading?

    December 26, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. TheTruthHurts

    If he reads at all, it is a positive development in my view. Look, he sucked as a president. He tried, he sucked, it's over.

    December 26, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. Befuddled

    ...why is it that so many comments on "W" related entries suggest he should be imprisoned? love/hate/indifference aside, i have never seen anything to suggest that he has committed a potentially imprisonable offense. even No. 43's most ardent supporters cannot seriously argue that his administration hasn't been punctuated with stunning lapses of competence, but there is nothing criminal about that....besides, he is effectively gone, now. doesn't it make more sense to look forward? stewing in bitterness over the past is the swiftest path to irrelevence...

    December 26, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. Befuddled

    "what is their I.Q's?" need I even comment?

    December 26, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. Roy

    Bush can read?

    December 26, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. jnr

    SOMEONE PLEASE THROW ANOTHER PAIR OF SHOES @ GW!!!:
    "what is their I.Q's?

    I'm sure Bush & Rove combined I.Q's is not even up to half of Barack Hussein Obama's….

    GW Bush surely is the WORST PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD, EVER!!!"

    Wow... Well, I see you've mastered the English language to the same degree President Bush. Also, the President is the President of the United States of America... not the world. Of course you're probably too busy howling at the moon and filling out your welfare forms to know the difference.

    December 26, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. EW

    Think for yourself, people. Quit mimicking the hate of your idols Olbermann, Franken, Rhodes and Maddow.

    December 26, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. NY republican

    To Truth – how many books did you read this week?
    Chris – if had even read the article you have seen a partial list of the books the President has read.
    And "someone please throw.. " – one of you has finally figured it out, the less interference from government, the better the country.

    December 26, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. joethedumber

    Two liars in competition. I'm surprised they BOTH didn't claim victory!

    December 26, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. Blake

    Hey Joshua... "successful businessman?" Really? He ran Harkin Energy into the ground, not to mention our economy. He had to be bailed out by, guess who? The bin Ladens... So much for our failed experiment into "The MBA President." How stupid do you have to be to run an energy company into the dirt? Maybe we could get some pointers from Jeff Spelman & Co. I'm going to write a new presidential tome, "Billy the Goat." Books on Tape is not actually considered "reading."

    December 26, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. DJ

    95 books in a year?! Regardless of Dubya's comprehension level (or lack thereof), that's one book every 3.85 days, meaning that he spent a solid few hours each day with his nose in a book, which is doable if you're an average joe like the majority of us, but the man is the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!! There is no justifiable reason for him to have enough free time to rip through 95 books in a calendar year when he holds the highest, most pressure-packed position in the free world. Does no one else find this a bit disturbing?

    December 26, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. cindy

    Bush 1's alumni status is what got him into Yale, he was a gentleman's "C" student, Yale does not flunk out students. His father pulled strings to get into Harvard. He was not a successful business man, and was only 1/8 owner of the Texas Rangers. The Texas govt is in session biennially (odd number years) for 140 days beginning in January. Emergency sessions can be called. His first "real" job was governor. Good politician. His dream job was baseball commissioner. I do not think he is stupid, just picked a bad "team", bad advice and bad results. The USA has to live with the results. (Sorry, i have read too many books on GWB).

    December 26, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. AJ

    All the comments are very funny!!!
    Makes a great read by itself.
    Cheers

    December 26, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. Cheryl from MN

    Ok so those books are on his reading list, I bet the books were given to him and he was told he should read them because it would make him look intelligent. And I'll bet he didn't read them because he has a short attention span and wouldn't have had a full understanding of them, he probably dozed off trying to read them.

    December 26, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  23. Jim in Asheville

    I'm guessing that since George Bush went to Yale (and had higher grades than John Kerry) and has been a governor and two-term president, that he is obviously intelligent. I can't say that all of his policy decisions have been stellar, but then they're based on advice from many sources. I'm glad he's on the way out, but to suggest that he is an "idiot" or a "criminal" reflects more upon those making such foolish statements than on the man himself. By the way, remember when we were told that Bill Clinton read 300 books a year? I'm still waiting to see that reading list.

    December 26, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  24. That Other Jerry

    I love it–while his critics are busy making ungrammatical, misspelled, and generally childish comments on blog posts, GWB is reading history, after having gone to Yale and Harvard, managed a baseball team, and governed a state and the country (thanks Joshua for reminding everyone). If there were a court that tried people for being stupid, I wonder who would be more likely to be convicted, the President who can read (although I admit he can barely speak), or the critics who can't manage an intelligent comment?

    December 26, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  25. ME IN FL

    He knows how to read??? Does he understand what he reads????? LOL

    To Joshua,

    It doesn;t matter if Bushie went to Yale or Harvard, Yale and Harvard never got through his head!!! NO GRAY MATTTER INSIDE!! Sucessful businessman??? Doubt it? Governor of Texas, yeah, he did a good job in bankrupting the state!! And yes, he did not steal the election he bought it!!!! And regarding your last sentence "(I do think he can read a book), but maybe he’s not the stupid one here…"
    Of course not , the stupid ones here were the ones that voted not once but twice for him and wanted us to have 4 more years of the same.

    December 26, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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