The Surprising Tale of the Reader in Chief

Karl Rove is hated by many Democrats, and I share in some of their hatred, since he helped elect George W. Bush twice. But as I’ve regularly read a column that Rove writes in the WSJ, my feelings for him have softened. Rpve in turn tries to soften the impression that we have about the president he served, providing glimpses into a Presidential life that most of us know nothing about.

Did you know that George Bush read more than 40 books in 2008? And that he challenged his aide Rove to a contest over the past three years where they competed to see who could read the most? As someone who collects books that he rarely gets to read, let alone finish, I am inspired that Bush the busy president has time to consume all of these pages. He still doesn’t hold a candle to my pal Kent, the Reader’s Reader, but hey…he’s got a day job.

The books cited in Rove’s column today weren’t just Michael Crichton thrillers either. Biographies of Lincoln, civil war books, and the Bible cover to cover were among his bedside accompaniments. Rove said that instead of watching TV, Bush reads books on Air Force One.

Rove recounts the years of competition, when in 2006 he beat Bush 110 books to 95. Then in 2007, the score was 76 to 51, with Rove again winning. While Bush may have read a little less in 2008, now that he’s heading for Dallas, I’m sure he’ll manage to up the score for next year’s competition.