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. j

    A 3rd grader could beat Bush. Where's my shoe? I'd like to throw one or two at Rove as well. Are those sulpherous vapors emanating from his mouth?

    December 26, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  2. Chris in Va.

    Well at least we know what Dumbya has been doing instead of the job tha American people elected him to do.

    December 26, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. Aaron from Ohio

    I don't believe this for one minute. I have a hard time imagining him reading 40 TV Guides in one year let alone 40 actual books. My bet is that "My Pet Goat" was the last real book he held in his hands. I don't think he reads the daily intelligence reports that he is given each day either. Bush has proven himself to be anti-science, anti-intellectual, anti-idea and purposely keep himself uninformed about virtually everything that matters. 40 comic books? Maybe.

    December 26, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. Suzanne

    W can read grown up books without pictures??? This just proves it: if Rove's lips are moving, he's lying.

    December 26, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  5. rob

    Jeez, please quit showing pictures of this ugly, repulsive human. Who gives a sh** about these two scumbags?

    December 26, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  6. Leah

    Maybe George Bush IS intelligent–he may still be a stoner

    December 26, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  7. chascates

    Bush is DOWN to 40 books a year? Obviously he doesn't devote much time to being President but I really doubt he could get through more than 10-15 books a year. Even with lots of pictures in them.

    December 26, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  8. Marc Bélisle

    Wow, I didn't realise Bush could read!

    December 26, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  9. Dan

    He didnt get to be president by having the mentality to call himself Southern Hottie.

    It is always a good strategy to let people think you are stupid, then out Think them.

    You out think them by reading and preparing your mind

    You dont go to Harvard and Yale by being stupid.

    Just ask President Elect Obama

    Isnt it interesting ever since President Elect Obama started getting the Presidential Daily Briefing how conservative he has gotten.

    My hopes of him being smarter than his platform and camaign promises are already being realized .

    Years from now when history reveals what the president has been dealing with, I am sure most of those who lamblast W now wil change their tune.

    December 26, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  10. Jasmine in Germany

    The whole world knows that Bush doesn't even read a newspaper because it is a burden for him. Can't drink coffee and read at the same time, you know. Tsk, tsk. Although the press didn't make a scene of it eight years ago, I found it very sad that the childhood book named by the Bush family as his favorite didn't exist during Bush's childhood and was indeed written by a foreign author ("The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Die Kleine Raupe Nimmersatt by Erik Carle of Switzerland, Laura's ignorance (hello, school teacher?) is partly to blame for this elementary faux pas which went around the world . What a sad representation of the Oval Office of our once beautiful country.

    December 26, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  11. RCates

    I must say I am surprised. Old Karl never could finish college and graduate. Now he is bragging about what he read. He should, if he can manage to read at that level, try to read the constitution.

    December 26, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  12. judy d

    Bush and Rove should both be in jail.....reading books!!

    December 26, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  13. Craig

    Oh come on – there is no way President Bush read over a book a week during any year of his life, much less while serving as President. Even if he did nothing else during the week (which is debatable), short of them being a comic books, he did not read that many books.

    To even suggest that he read remotely that number of books is comical. And to further suggest such weighty tomes is laughable.

    The President would not speak as poorly, or be as incoherent when he does speak, if he were actually reading and comprehending books such as those.


    December 26, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  14. james

    Really nice reading list...same ol', same ol'. War, virtuous war, history of war, and more war. Shows a real nice value system. I've never been more eager to see a group of people leave office more than this crowd of lying, cheating, treasonous, and treacherous vermin. May there please be some form of justice in this Universe, that people who deserve punishment actually get it. It almost makes me wish there were a real hell to believe in.

    December 26, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  15. Nick - Arlington, VA

    he has time to read that many books a year?....really?

    December 26, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  16. stoic

    How can someone that reads so much know so little?

    December 26, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |

    Bush is still working his way thru 'My Pet Goat", the tome he was reading with the first graders on 9/11.

    He has not been able to access a first grader to pronouce the big words!

    December 26, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  18. just wondering

    How many books did any of you read? Or can you.

    December 26, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  19. Kim

    Camus' "The Stranger?!" I don't believe it. There's no pictures.

    December 26, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  20. brian

    c'mon, bush is still learning the alphabet..

    December 26, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  21. LGlenn

    Considering the mess this country is in, I have to wonder how it is that our president has the leisure time to read. It would seem that leading our country might be a full time occupation.

    December 26, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  22. John

    I guess that means he finally finished reading "My Pet Goat."

    December 26, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  23. amy

    why do we even care about karl rove –

    December 26, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  24. bush begs for lethal Injection

    He will have plenty of time to read in prison...

    ....and can tell the story of how he traded Iraq to the stop future ...911 terrorist activity...

    December 26, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  25. EKW

    "Everybody lies."
    – G. House, MD

    December 26, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
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