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. Mario in Texas

    No contest. All Karl had to do was read the first word on the cover of the first book on his list and he won.

    December 26, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  2. ish

    let me guess lots of pictures ??

    December 26, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  3. surprise


    December 26, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. tomtomdc

    I think folks are being pretty hard on President Bush here. How many people who have written such unkind things on this post have actually read 95 books in any one year of their life? Certainly not I, and I have an MA in literature, so I feel pretty confident in saying that reading 95 books, or even 40 if they are dense history books, is a considerable feat. The only people I know who read more than that are publishers and editors, who get paid to read literally thousands of pages per week. However, I'd be hard pressed to find many people who read over 100 substantial books in a year.

    December 26, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. skip


    You are obviously a very disturbed individual who is in need of intense therapy and possibly medication.

    Either that, or you enjoy writing ranting, nonsensical posts just to keep everyone else wondering.

    I continue to be amazed that the "moderators" at CNN allow this gibberish and baby talk to be posted while they randomly remove other writers' posts that actually make sense.

    December 26, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  6. liz

    Even throughout the Christmas season liberals remain full of hate and mean spirit. What sad lives!

    December 26, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  7. Mark Jones

    Who has the time to read 95 books in one year? The only person I know that reads 95 books in one year is a stoner who doesn't have a job. I mean, I'm all for reading but we could have used a little leadership over the past year.

    December 26, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  8. Paul in FL

    It is indeed unfortunate that GW was not able to absorb any wisdom from these books.

    December 26, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  9. Bob

    This is so contrary to his public persona that it is hard to believe. Didn't he at one time admit to only "scanning", not reading, newspapers? If he really is more intelligent than most people believe, i think it would be fascinating to see how that happened. How much of the blame is his, how much from the rest of us? It would make a great book!

    December 26, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  10. MikeH

    Griff?? What's wrong Griff? What are the voices telling you to do?

    Time to go back to your dormitory and take your antipsychotic meds son.

    December 26, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  11. Vickie

    If he read them they are either (l) the abridged version (2) on tape, or (3) have been edited to comprehend on the 5th grade level. There's no way he can murder the King's English as he does and be an avid reader.

    December 26, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. Butch Dillon

    The word "read" is not to be taken literally. Bush listened to the audio versions of his selection, with someone sitting next to him to explain the big words.

    December 26, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  13. Big R

    All I have to say is 'Stupid is as stupid does!' Please don't comment on Harvard and Yale when everyone knows he was spoon fed by daddy. There's no way this clown is reading all the books mentioned. He probably falls asleep to books on tape, but does Electric Company and Mr. Rogers sing-a-longs count? I'm sure you could test the guy on the books and he wouldn't be able to provide you with anything useful. I'm sorry if you were one of the poor souls who got fooled by this clown, but mistakes happen and hopefully you've learned from those mistakes.

    December 26, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  14. MikeH

    The book "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" reminds me of Karl Rove, except Karl never spins a cocoon, he just keeps eating things.

    December 26, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  15. Leeroy Jenkins

    There is one important point here. WHO THE HELL CARES?!? Soon Bush and all his cronies will be nothing but a distant memory to be played on the history channel only when talking about what the troops did. Other than that, he has changed nothing and America just stood still during his 8 years while the rest of the world was advancing technology and science–about the only things that humanity is involved in that isn't equivalent to dung.

    December 26, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  16. Truther

    Did the treasonous Bush pig read any 9/11 truth books???

    December 26, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  17. Godluvr

    Mutt and Jeff or Tom and Jerry. Bless their hearts.

    December 26, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  18. Walley

    I didn't know the stupid jerk could read. I have always figured he was stuck on See Jane Run.

    December 26, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |

    @ jnr

    the president of the united states is the president of the free world and invariably the president of the world; but for most americans and mostly blowhard, hillibilly republiklans, education is not their strongest suit. see what GW has done to the united states!

    it's sad that while you've been attending pain-lin klan rallies and dacing to rascist rush limbaugh & hannity's songs; your intelligent quotient can rightfully by placed beneath the shoes GW.

    December 26, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  20. Sue

    You Bush-bashers are really going to miss your punching bag when he is back in Texas. You won't be wanting to read all the new Obama-bashers, and, honey, there's already many/many of us.

    December 26, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  21. TheWorld

    Shoes at you.

    December 26, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  22. Jeff Fyke

    I guess this article is proof someone can "read" but not retain anything.

    December 26, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  23. Barbara

    Pfft. Bush doesn't read; if he did he could talk.

    December 26, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  24. Harry Katz

    These are books that may have been designated as being on Bush's list, but come on!!! The guy is just a shade over literate!! Who's fooling who? And let's not forget how Bush got elected!! By fooling you!!!!!

    December 26, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  25. Ross

    At least Bush can read. Can Obama?

    December 26, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
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