Socialist books in the White House library? Yep -- since 1963
By Stephen Lowman
In this era of blog wildfires, one fast-moving flame can be quenched before it scorches the facts. First lady Michelle Obama did not stock the White House library with socialist books.
The controversy erupted after a conservative radio host and blogger from North Dakota took the White House tour on Wednesday and spotted two suspicious volumes on the shelves.
Rob Port, 29, who hosts a political call-in show in his home state, was surprised to come across "The American Socialist Movement, 1897-1912" and "The Socialist Party of America."
He snapped a photo and posted it on sayanythingblog.com.
Under the headline: "Photo Evidence: Michelle Obama Keeps Socialist Books in the White House Library," Port wrote that the White House tour guide said the library was stocked with books picked out by Michelle Obama. "Being a bit of a bibliophile," he wrote on the blog, "I started to peruse some of the books on the shelves...and lookie, lookie what I found."
Thus flame was ignited. The blog post quickly attracted over a hundred comments and was linked on many other sites.
"Surely this means that every time President Obama is in the midst of important policy deliberations, he goes into the library, dusts off The American Socialist Movement, 1897-1912, and uses it to help him figure out what the most socialist policy would be," mocked New York's Daily Intel blog.
Port, who was in Washington to cover the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), said in an interview it is "never fair to judge a book by its cover" and that you can't conclude Obama is a socialist just by the books in his library. "But obviously there have been question about the Obama administration's politics. You see a few socialist books sitting in the library and, well, that fits in the narrative."
The only problem is the books Port photographed have been sitting in the library since 1963.
Web Politics Editor
February 18, 2010; 4:42 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency
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