Rove: I 'defeated' Bush in book-reading contest
Andrew McLemore
Published: Friday December 26, 2008

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Critics of President Bush often refer to him as something less than an intellectual giant, but Republican strategist Karl Rove begs to differ.

According to him, President Bush has read 186 books in the last three years alone.

In a column titled "Bush Is a Book Lover" published in The Wall Street Journal, Rove revealed that he and the president have contested one another in reading since 2006 -- a contest Rove said he won every year, including this one.

But Rove's purpose leans more toward lauding Bush's voracious reading habits as his own.

"There is a myth perpetuated by Bush critics that he would rather burn a book than read one," Rove writes in the article. "Like so many caricatures of the past eight years, this one is not only wrong, but also the opposite of the truth and evidence that bitterness can devour a small-minded critic. Mr. Bush loves books, learns from them, and is intellectually engaged by them."

Rove also revealed the specific books read by Bush, from a biography of Ulysses S. Grant to a history of the Spanish Civil War.

"We recommended volumes to each other (for example, he encouraged me to read a Mao biography; I suggested a book on Reconstruction's unhappy end)," Rove writes in the article. "Each year, the president also read the Bible from cover to cover, along with a daily devotional."

Although reading is a good habit for any leader, a column for U.S. News and World Report asks, "Who knew the president had so much time to read?"

"I am all for cheering Bush on as a model for young folks and book-buyers. But 95 books a year? Wow. That is a lot of time spent curled by the fireplace for the Leader of the Free World."

The column compares the books listed by Rove as clear examples of the policies of the Bush administration and says what is "lacking" in it.

"Bush and Rove are apparently believers in the Great Man view of things, in which leaders like Andrew Jackson and Mao and Lyndon Johnson transform societies, and not so much the other way around."