June 2nd, 2009
08:45 PM ET
3 years ago

Obama keeping up with Bush's reading pace?

Can Obama keep up with Bush's reading pace?
Can Obama keep up with Bush's reading pace?

(CNN) - It appears President Obama has to step up his reading pace if he wants to beat his predecessor in one particular measure: how many books a president can polish off a year.

In an interview with the BBC Tuesday, Obama said he is currently reading Joseph O'Neill's 270-page novel "Netherland," a book Obama first said he began back in April.

If Obama is close to finishing the novel, that puts him on less than a 10 book-a-year pace, far less than the close to 100 books President Bush was reportedly able to finish in the same amount of time.

According to former top Bush aide Karl Rove, he and the former president engaged in a friendly wager every year to see who could read more books.

In 2006, Bush read 95 books to Roves 110: a Herculean pace of nearly two books a week - in an election year to boot - for the ex-president. But, according to Rove, Bush's reading slowed a bit in the final years of his presidency, finishing a not-too-shabby 51 books in 2007 and at least 40 in 2008.

And if that's not impressive enough, Rove also said Bush found time to read the Bible "from cover to cover" every year.

While Obama may have had to put aside “Netherland” last month in favor of pages of court briefs with a Supreme Court vacancy to fill, it nevertheless appears the president has some summer reading to do.


Filed under: President Bush • President Obama
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. David S.

    What's this nonsense you speak of? You mean Bush can read?

    June 2, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  2. ib

    Obama is writing his own book- how to destroy this country. I thought Nixon and Carter was bad; they look like saints compared to this clown.

    June 2, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  3. Jimmy the Greek

    Let the "enlightened progressives" begin their insults and trashing of President Bush.......

    God Forbid their messiah get slighted in any form or fashion!

    Yes, the O'bots will be here soon to post angry hateful messages like good little followers.

    June 2, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  4. Kim

    Of course we don't know the length of the books W was reading...Perhaps it was the Dr. Seuss collection?

    June 2, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Bush clearly had more free time to read, perhaps b/c Bush was always on vacation.

    June 2, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  6. Nick

    i didn't realize coloring books counted

    June 2, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  7. jolly john

    POTUSA is a very busy man , unlike his predecessor.

    June 2, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  8. asf

    children books don't count

    June 2, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  9. Mark

    Pop-up books do not count for Bush. Neither does having the books read to him.

    June 2, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  10. Nick

    i find it hard to believe a man that supposedly read that much could have such a hard time simply speaking the english language. unless these were nancy drew books, you can file those bush reading facts in the same category as the iraq-9/11 link – another complete fabrication from the worst administration ever.

    June 2, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  11. PREMIER HIGH SCHOOL

    Too bad neither one has read The Constitution.

    June 2, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  12. Jude

    Ah, yeah? And does this have anything to do with how much more WORK our new president has time to be doing, compared with our former president?

    June 2, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  13. Pegi

    Uh, did Bush's books have anything to do with the fox in socks in a box? Could he do a book report on one of the books he read? Were there words or just pictures?

    June 2, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  14. BJK

    Im sorry, but I don't think "Goodbye Moon", "the little engine that could" and "Where's Waldo" count.

    June 2, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  15. arithmetic is liberal

    Well, I guess we know why Bush was in bed at 8:00 every night...
    Reading glasses, silk pajamas, a warm glass of milk and a nice book.

    George: Laura, help me with this word.
    Laura: Evel.
    George: and this one?
    Laura: Kneivel.
    George: that one?
    Laura: Was.
    George: and this?
    Laura: Born.
    George: *points*
    Laura: In.
    George: last one?
    Laura: Montana.
    George: Huh. Hey, Laura! Did you know that Evel Kneivel was born in Montana?

    *with paraphrased credit to Seth McFarlane*

    June 2, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  16. John brown

    Geez, no wonder Bush didn't have time to run the country (except into the ground that is.)

    June 2, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  17. Peter

    Not sure what the former President and his henchman was reading. Cover to cover may mean what was on both the covers and excluding what was on the pages. With the intellectual capacity that Bush had I doubt if he could read two books a year which he claims he did.

    June 2, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  18. Bill Richardson

    He had plenty of time to read books while he was relaxing down in Crawford for all those vacations that the taxpayers paid for. Betcha the books had a lot of pictures!

    June 2, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  19. Obama Victim

    Obama hasn't finished a book.
    Obama hasn't found a church.
    Obama hasn't quit smoking.

    WHY? None of those things feed his need for media attention.

    Flying to Chicago for Valentines Dinner.... flying to NYC for dinner and a play...campaigning in Vegas for Harry Reid.... now THOSE are things Obama thinks are important!

    June 2, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  20. Beth

    There's no way on earth Bush read that many books.

    June 2, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  21. Art in Las Vegas

    Rove is a liar! Enough said!

    June 2, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  22. Roger S, Brea, CA

    Bush can read?

    June 2, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  23. Patty

    My guess is that he's busy trying to get this country put back together. W? Enough said.

    June 2, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  24. Doc Ray

    With all due disrespect to Karl Rove, Bush remained illiterate in spite of his reading (unless he was reading up pop-up books).:)

    As for Rove, it apparently took a lot of book-reading to remain that closed-minded. What was he reading? Probably his reading list would be similar to that of the Feuhrer of the Third Reich, who supposedly read a lot too.

    Obama is a Constitutional Law Professor who turned into a man of action. In him has taken place a classic marriage of theory and practice, reading and doing.

    June 2, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  25. JLW in Ala.

    Is there anyone alive that believes Bush could read 100 books plus the Bible from cover to cover in one year?? He must have been reading "My Pet Goat " and a condensed version of the Bible.

    If my memory serves me correctly, Bush said at the beginning of his Presidency that he didn't read at all. Now he claims over 100 books a year. Something is amiss as it always is with Bush and Rove. They can't tell the truth !!!

    June 2, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
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