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On Obama's nightstand: 'The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt'

By Scott Wilson
As he heads into the final phase of his push for health care reform, President Obama is brushing up on one of the first U.S. presidents to take on the issue: Teddy Roosevelt.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs tweeted Monday that Obama is reading "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" by Edmund Morris. Gibbs was responding to media questions about Obama's reference to his extra-curricular reading during the fiery health-care speech he delivered in Glenside, Pa.

"We've been talking about health care for nearly a century," Obama told the audience of roughly 1,800 people gathered at Arcadia University. "I'm reading a biography of Teddy Roosevelt right now. He was talking about it. Teddy Roosevelt."

The book, which the New York Times Book Review described as "magnificent" after its 2001 publication, ranked 11,832 on the Amazon sales list about two hours after Obama spoke. Let's see what a presidential reference does for book sales.

By Scott Wilson  |  March 8, 2010; 2:38 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , White House  
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As TR said, anyone who called him "'Teddy' ... 'doesn't know me.'" It grates on all TR fans -- which is why aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the word is never used. (Little fact, not a nit to pick.)

I hope Mr. Obama learns about the man and doesn't -- as politicians so often to -- twist him to his own ends. The trouble is, one won't learn the real facts from Morris's semi-fictional accounts. (He has a style, if you call it that, of making up events and putting people who weren't there at the scene of events -- such as Woodrow Wilson at TR's inauguration at Wilcox House in Buffalo.)

A much better and more-accurate book is Morning on Horseback by David McCullough or Theodore Roosevelt: A Life by Nathan Miller

Posted by: chicoandtheman2001 | March 9, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

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