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. Jeffrey Condon

    Another "inteligent voter" defending Bush...too just keeps getting better..I suppose the excuse offered is that "real Americans" can't spell. The R's are doomed as long as they continue to open their mouths.

    December 26, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  2. RealityCzech

    "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"

    There have already been many points in the present when right-wing parrots repeat this sentiment and then brood dejectedly, because they know that it is just wishful thinking on their part, with no hope whatsoever of the vast majority of Americans even considering it.

    December 26, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  3. Jorge

    I don't think Dumbya reads the books. He just reads the titles, and it takes him a year to do so.

    December 26, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  4. bob

    can someone tell the"inteligent voter" how to spell intelligent

    December 26, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  5. Sigh

    You are all stupid and have no idea what you are talking about. Too bad it is not a crime to be stupid so you can be locked away.

    December 26, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  6. ChicagoSuz

    Nah... it's too easy... 😉

    December 26, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  7. chesspride

    Somewhere down the list - there was a question as to what impeachable or illegal offense the administration may have committed.

    I would say that 1) the illegal domestic wiretap program and 2) the use of secret prisons in Europe and 3) the clear authorization of torture (aka waterboarding - an offense that some enemies in WWII were convicted of during the trials!) would be sufficient actions.

    If the Congress were so inclined, these are offenses of sufficient weight to merit removal from office IMHO.

    December 26, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  8. LGlenn

    But, at this point, who in their right mind believes anything Karl Rove says?

    December 26, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  9. Bruce, Middlesex, NY

    So, that is what he has been doing the past 3 years....didn't anyone give him some history books to read before he took us to war?

    December 26, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  10. Michael Courtney


    December 26, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  11. Bill

    95 books in one year? yah, RIGHT! I would say I'm a reasonably fast reader, and have a pretty light-to-moderate schedule with work and life, and I maybe read 6-8 books per year. If you mean to tell me that the President of the United States has the time to read 95 books per year, you're either a) full of it, or b) it explains why the economy has fallen apart over the last few months. Perhaps if Bush was spending the time reading intelligence reports, economic forecasts, and the news, we would be in better shape than we are.

    December 26, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  12. johng

    Bush can read....but only comprehend to a limited extent. How did
    he screw up this country so badly?? listening to Rove, Cheney,
    Rumsfield, etc. It turned out very badly. This 'contest' is a sad
    reminder. 1/20/ can't come soon enough.

    December 26, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  13. Gil

    Little wonder bush would read those kinds of books. He's led us into two wars and seems to put military might ahead of diplomacy when ever possible! We have been betrayed by a man who only wants war!

    December 26, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  14. Joe

    After reading some of these comments I try to imagine what many of you will think when Obama receives the same level of respect that Bush has received from his critics. I just can't believe the level of blind, searing hatred towards him derived from years emotionally laden sound bites and the total lack of shame. There are just so many people that don't believe they have to show respect for anyone or anything.

    December 26, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  15. Ben

    Unless you've read 40 books this year and worked at least 50 hours a week while being on call the rest of the time I would advise those posting to thoughtfully refrain from being so self-righteously contemptuous.

    December 26, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  16. John Shaw

    Could some one possibly try to tell Bush & Cheney that we (America) are supposed to be a Republic and why we are not supposed to be a Democracy. Perhaps someone has an extra copy of Aristotle's papers. Or they could Google " Aristotle government republic " and also learn about checks and balances with oversight/regulation, Yes sadly we cannot trust everyone especially in profit making adventures! John

    December 26, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  17. Art Michaelson

    I betcha Bush only reads the last page first so he will know the ending berfor he falls asleep at 9 pm each night

    December 26, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  18. Gil

    Reality Czech,

    Obama hasn't taken office and yet your right wing red necks are already telling us what you see in the tea leaves. Get a life and face the fact bush was and is a disaster. 80% of Americans polled say they won't miss him. I hate the man!

    December 26, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  19. RZ

    He actually reads?? Too bad he didn't learn anything from his reading. Perhaps had he spent that time learning how to run the country instead running it into the ground we all might be better off.

    On the plus side he can enjoy all the reading he wants in 25 days. Have a nice retirement George. You deserve the rest after all the damage your sheer incompetency did in the last eight years.

    December 26, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  20. TomfromNJ1

    Even if I were to take them at their word, what I would regret is that they never seem to read things that might present views other than those they already hold. I would love to be able to pick the book a week for them. reading things that reinforce your blind faith ideas can be worse than not reading. It can cause you to really believe the things you have said.

    December 26, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  21. dibick99

    rove isn't being fair. first he has to give 'w' reading lessons.

    December 26, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  22. SilverPsychic

    When did George W learn to read?

    December 26, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  23. Jonathan

    What? They haven't arrested Rove yet?

    December 26, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  24. Al

    Still, at time of great stress, we all know what he reads: "My Pet Goat".

    December 26, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  25. Andy

    Okay, GW read 95 books in a year. Imagining his reading skills – that explains why the country got neglected on its way to this hell!

    December 26, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
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