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

Obama keeping up with Bush's reading pace?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/02/art.bushreading.gi.jpg caption="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. Geoff

    I don't really believe that Bush read the bible cover to cover every year. Speaking as a former Christian who HAS read the bible cover to cover, if most Christians actually DID read the bible cover to cover, there would be a lot less Christians.

    June 2, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. Hellokitti

    Maybe Bush should have spent a little more time applying himself to his job and less time pleasure reading. I'd rather have a president who did his job then one who seemed like his main goal in life was to keep himself entertained.

    June 2, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. oz

    bush read a 100 books in a year?... should i mock and jeer or just stay quiet and let the silent do my bidding? 😛

    June 2, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  4. David Evan

    Mr. Mooney seems to assume one reads one book at a time, and as we know President Obama is multi-tasking, like many avid readers.

    What I measure about Bush is how much time he apparently didn't have for our concerns, versus his own.

    June 2, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  5. radoering

    sure bush can read.....

    June 2, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  6. HUM!!!

    Bush can't read ten Words in a Year!!!

    June 2, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  7. Sam of Silver Spring

    It's not how many books one reads; it's what one gets from reading them. I suspect Obama has learned and will be a better president from reading the 30 books he has than Bush did in all the books he read during his presidency.

    June 2, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  8. ralph nagel

    How long will this lame "joke" go on ??
    Does ANYONE really believe that Bush read ~100 books a year While president !?

    Now that he has so much more time, he must be reading at least one a Day!?

    C'Mon ....

    June 2, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  9. David K

    No wonder the country was going to hell. Bush was busy reading 100 books! Probably about torture.

    June 2, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  10. Plainview

    Ummm... this entry should shut up. Maybe Obama has less time to read because he actually works instead of taking vacations and having all his decisions made by his inner circle. I fart in your general direction.


    June 2, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  11. Bill

    Good!! Maybe he's actually doing his job!!!!

    June 2, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  12. Had It

    I'm watching MSNBC because I can no longer stand the hate and divisiveness on CNN, and really don't like the Communistic Censorship of Mooney, Henry, etc.

    June 2, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  13. skyhawkdriver

    Of course we all know that just like the illusrtious members the president never read the porkulus spending bill..too bad..maybe even he would have vetoed his own bill..of course now that he owns chrysler and general motors he has plenty of laid off uaw workers to read to him

    June 2, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  14. John

    I'd wager Obama is spending more of his time actually being president than Bush did. But that's just a guess.

    June 2, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  15. Denise in MD

    Of course Bush had time to read so many books, since he never read the daily security briefings...

    June 2, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  16. Michael

    Why is this News worthy? Who cares? The reason Bush read so many books is because he did not know what else to do. Maybe if he actually put down his books and did something we would not be in this mess. Is CNN again just making up news so they have something to talk about? Recession, two wars, North Korea testing missiles, Pakistan at war with the Taliban, GM bankrupt, America bankrupt, and CNN thinks this is news worthy! Give me a break! Get rid of cable news networks, Fox can go first.

    June 2, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  17. Bill

    Anyone who has the time to read 2 books per week, has a lot of free time!! The POTUS should NOT have that much free time!

    June 2, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  18. Somewhere in the Lone Star State

    There's NO WAY Bush can read....

    June 2, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  19. Allen in Hartwell GA

    In my opinion it's better to have a president who will have more to his legacy than just reading a lot of books during his time in office.

    June 2, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  20. MichelefromAnnArbor

    The reason why Obama hasn't kept pace with Bush's reading schedule? Let me see, (a) Bush has been prone to misrepresenting the facts, (b) Obama is actually taking the presidency seriously, and (c) Obama is not just a figurehead while his vice-president runs the country – he's smart enough and curious enough to actually function as the POTUS.

    June 2, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  21. Scott Taylor

    Obama needs to follow Bush's lead. "The Pet Goat" is nice and short and can be read while everyone else panics around you.

    June 2, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  22. JP in CO

    What do you expect... This is the quality-vs. quantity argument once again. "My Pet Goat" takes less than 10 minutes to read. Compare that to the 800 page biography of Lincoln "Team of Rivals" and Obama wins everytime!

    June 2, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  23. tjpdx

    Not hard to read a lot of books when you treat the presidency as a 9-5 job and spend 1/3 of your presidency on vacation in Crawford. Something tells me Obama is logging quite a few more hours on the job than Bush did.

    June 2, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  24. Dan Mitchell

    If only W stayed away from the pop up book section of the library he could have kept an eye on the scum bags that took out the WTC on 9/11 or maybe he could read a few geography books that show where exactly Afghanistan is located.
    Is it possible that President Obama doesn't have as much time on his hands as Georgie boy. Unbelievable the audacity of these low lives from the last administration. Thousands of lives and trillions of dollars and all we have to show for it is a divided nation in the poor house. God save this once great nation from its detractors. The GOP

    June 2, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  25. Matt

    LOL – It's easy to read 95 books a year when you're letting the country fall apart. Obama will never be able to match this. While terrorists flew planes into the WTC, Bush read. While the economy tanked, Bush read. While Hurricane Katrina survivors suffered in a stadium, Bush read. While 4000 US soldiers died in a pointless war, Bush read.

    I'm sure proud of him. All this time, I thought for sure he couldn't read.

    June 2, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
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