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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

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.

Continue reading at Short Stack»

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 18, 2010; 4:42 PM ET
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Oh my, two books on Socialism in the White House Library! What ever will we do? Conservatives better check every book in every university, private and public school, public libraries for THOSE kind of books. Better check the internet too, while their at it! AND, they talk about "Big Brother"!
Better not have any Documentaries on that subject either because it's just to dangerous and all this proves that Liberals, some moderates must be Socialists.
All it proves to me is that there are alot of the extreme Right out there who find 'dirt' in anything that they choose. And it also shows they believe in censorship. At least censorship of anything that doesn't fit their MO.

Posted by: mcdonalsherry | February 19, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Typical conservative crap. Little weasel of a reporter goes in hoping to find something negative, however remote, about the Obama administration. Like Fox News, promulgate anything that reflects his viewpoint--no matter how irrelevant, inapplicable or erroneous . . .

Using Port's method of evaluation via old books on the shelves, one who is pretty tired of hearing about creationism could smirk and scorn the appearance of the Bible there.

Posted by: TomCamfield | February 19, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

The books on the shelf don't make a difference. It is the people Obama has surrounded himself with that make the difference; and the policies they espouse and implment. In that regard, the case is clear. Obama has several cabinet members and czars with socialist credentials, and a communications director who says that her favorite philosopher is Mao Tse Tung (the chinese communist, mass murderer). He he led an effort that wasted year of the federal government in trying to achieve a government takeover of our healthcare system. The people have recognized the "duck" for what it is, and is in the process of the most massive political rejection in our history.

Posted by: BrerFox | February 19, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Whereas rightwingnut teabagger morons like Port love to call people socialists, communists, marxists, etc. without having the slightest idea what any of those words mean.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | February 19, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

the only one of the two parties that i see lieing and misrepresenting and are the ones that need too, the conservatives.they just continue to look more and more desperate!truth means nothing to them and they want to lead ha ha ha !

Posted by: jaigeebee | February 19, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

The fact that those books - whatever they are - are in the White House library doesn't particularly disturb me. Anyone who has a well rounded education is usually familiar with opinions and philosophies that may differ from his own. Nor does it surprise me that someone would pounce on them as an indication of the socialistic leanings of the president and first lady. You'll find the same over the top nut cases on the left making ludicrous accusations about the right as well. Trying to make him representative of all those who oppose Obama's agenda and who think that someone else could do a better job is just silly and a lazy assessment. I firmly believe that Obama is a failure as a leader and that we need a change in the next election, and I equally believe that Port is an idiot.

Posted by: Lilycat1 | February 19, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Surely this moron is not representative of the people who claim they can take over the government and run it more efficiently than Obama. That they are smart and can solve this nation';s many ills.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | February 18, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

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