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. Madison, WI

    AEK (12:25pm) wins best comment of this board

    December 26, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  2. merryjoe

    President Bush has NOT read 95 books in a year - EVER! Karl Rove continues to spin and lie through his teeth just like he's been doing for the last 20 years. At least now people know enough not to believe a word that comes out of his mouth. Bush read 95 books? BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    December 26, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  3. yellow dog democrat

    No news? is better than No news?? – Tabloid mentality is taking over folks??

    December 26, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  4. David L., Enfield, CT

    Bush...reading books?! I don't think so. maybe comic books but real books. sorry I just don't buy it, it's too unbelievable.

    December 26, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  5. a grey eagle

    a long time ago in the land of "blacgol", lived a young faery prince & his best friend the troll, the prince walked around in a lovely pink cloud, while kroven was busy working the crowd.
    the prince said,"oh swell, i don't have to work, my kroven can pull all those strings with a jerk!
    -this is part of my poem, too long for this blog, but it ends with kroven riding away on his scooter
    [ie] i'm red white and blue & havn't a clue why any one would call me a loser!

    December 26, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  6. Linda in MS

    Hey, Tom, from the previous article...just read your response to me.
    No, dear, I am not showing off my intellegence, but I am glad you recognize it. " The Audacity of Hope" is dedicated to Mr. Obama's grandmother Tutu and his mother. I am looking at the dedication as I type this. The title is from a quote from Rev. Wright. Get your facts right , sweetie.

    December 26, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  7. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    Bush lost because there haven't been enough "... for Dummies" books that he could finish.

    December 26, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  8. An inteligent voter

    There will be a point in the future when many of you media following sheep will realize that President Bush was a good president and that Obama is just another liberal empty suit, part of the corrupt Chicago political machine who quickly moved into the liberal gang of four in the Congress. Everyone points out that President Bush had a low approval rating below 40 percent but it is the Democrat Congress that had the lowest approval ratings in history of around 19 percent. No president was that low. Not even Jimmy Carter!!!

    December 26, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  9. Independent

    Who Cares???????????

    December 26, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  10. robert mackay

    i wonder if these two stooges have read "lying liars and the lies they tell"?


    December 26, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  11. hdrider69

    Rove, Bush..Bush, Rove. I'm over them. Good riddance to their like; an inept Donald Rumsfeld, a corrupt Dick Cheney, a token/puppet Condi Rice, the very incompetent George W. Bush a corrupt/above the law Alberto Gonzales and the rest of the scandal ridden Republicans-Duke Cunningham, Tom Delay, Ted Steveson, Minnesota airport restroom freaks, etc., etc.-just to name a few. I am SOOOOOO tired of hearing about them all. The good news, they're all gone come Jan. 2oth, 2009 and none too soon. This has been the worst eight years in American history thanks to these Republicans and their ilk. Thank God, we'll be free at last, Free at last!!

    December 26, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  12. Chris W, Tampa

    To: Show Me MO

    If not thinking "Bush is a fine dude" makes me a Kool-Aide drinker, let Kool-Aide Man crash through the wall of my house & pour out all over me & drown me in waves and waves of "Hey it's Kool-Aide Man" goodness. Once W is out of office I'd like to see him show his face round my America, the "real America", you know, down here with us un-rich, unconnected working people. Cause a few shoes is child's play to what he deserves and would get from millions and millions of us who got sumthin for the likes of him and Dick Cheney.
    More Kool-Aide?!?!!?

    December 26, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  13. a grey eagle

    contest of the prince & kroven the troll ,from the land of blackgole", the winner" -rode away on a Scooter!

    December 26, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  14. Sean H. Liberty, NY

    Re: Bush

    Conventional wisdom would side with the logic that "W's" vocabulary or intelligence might just raise a measurable bleep on the old radar screen after a couple of book readings....if he retained anything.

    I went to school in New Haven; where exactly is Bush's Yale ?

    December 26, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  15. Jeff

    Insert joke about beating Bush in a reading contest here.

    December 26, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  16. Ben

    Who here believes that Dubya read a single book off of his list? Even if he had, who here believes that it would be news?

    December 26, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  17. Sye the Pychic

    I see them both reading little pieces of paper behind iron bars.

    December 26, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  18. Darth Vadik, CA

    Show Me MO,

    you actually think of yourself as a thinker?


    you're funnier than Adam Sandler,


    December 26, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  19. Sharon

    Maybe he should have read less and ran the country more. That would have been about one book every three days. That's explains why the country is in a mess. He was in the bathroom reading while the country was going down the tolet.

    December 26, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  20. Paul

    Please, everyone, chill!
    The story is simply unbelievable and an obvious plant.
    First, there is no way anyone can verify whether either man read that many books.
    Second, there is no way, even if either read that many books–in a year–whether either read any of the books cited, or any other books of any title.
    Third, the stretch, any patently false statement, is that Bush read Camus' "The Stranger".
    How and why was he interested in such a novel? No explanation.
    This is simply ore of the same from these two guys: I said it, therefore it must be true.
    I bet nobody in MSM even does a single Scooby Doo.
    110 books in 52 weeks; 95 in the same period. Pulllleeeeze!
    Go away and take your books with you!

    December 26, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  21. J

    one fish two fish red fish blue fish was all rove needed to put him over w's reading of "everybody poops".

    December 26, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  22. Liz in CA

    This is NEWS? That ANYONE read more books than G.W.? Every first grader read more books than G.W. this, or any, year.

    December 26, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  23. DR. Phish

    Bush and Rove do a good thing by pushing reading and people want to turn this into a bashing event. I did not vote for Obama but I would pick a better subject it I decide to bash em...

    December 26, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  24. Michael

    What's next? Challenging someone in a wheelchair to a high jump contest? Bra-vo Mr Rove. Bra-vo.

    December 26, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  25. dwinbot

    @ "An Inteligent Voter"

    Four reasons why you are not "inteligent":

    1. The Democrats in Congress have higher approvals than Bush

    2. The Republicans have lower approvals than the Democrats AND Bush

    3. Obama's approvals are sky high right now

    4. Intelligent is spelled this way, not inteligent

    December 26, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
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