C(BS) News anchor Katie Couric asked the leading presidential candidates questions designed to go beyond politics and show what really makes them tick.
For the latest installment, Couric asks the candidates: “If you were elected president, what is the one book other than the bible you would think is essential to have along?”
McCain: “Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith, because we may be entering some pretty shaky economic times. And I think that’s one of the seminal works concerning how the economy of the nation and the world functions.
Obama: Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals.” It was a biography of Lincoln. And she talks about Lincoln’s capacity to bring opponents of his and people who have run against him in his cabinet. And he was confident enough to be willing to have these dissenting voices and confident enough to listen to the American people and push them outside of their comfort zone. And I think that part of what I want to do as president is push Americans a little bit outside of their comfort zone. It’s a remarkable study in leadership.
Romney: “John Adams” by David McCullough. This one on John Adams connected with me in an unusual way - because of his relationship with Abigail - their closeness, and the extensive letter-writing. You saw something about his heart and character: A truly great leader who made a difference for America. And his example is one I’d want to follow.
Huckabee: There’s a great book by Francis Schafer that had a real influence on me: “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” And it talks about the dignity and worth of every individual. And it was a very shaping book for me, because it reminded me that at the core of our culture, at the core of our civilization is our sense of self respect for other individuals - as people of equal worth and value. And that no human being has greater value than another human being.
Edwards: I.F. Stone’s book, “The Trial of Socrates.” Because he talks in … a very thoughtful way about the challenges that are faced by men about character, about integrity and about belief systems. And the book, I’ve read it several times. It had an impact on me.
Clinton: would certainly bring my copy of the Constitution because there was apparently not a copy in the Bush White House to the best I can determine. So I would bring The Federalist Papers. I would bring the historic documents about how our country started and the conflicts of opinion and philosophy that helped to form us, because we have been going through a period of time where the president and vice president have asserted an extensive view of executive power that I think is not in keeping with American history.
Giuliani: The bible would be it. The next would be The Federalist Papers. I take this with me all over. I have one sits in my law office and the other sits in my security office, and I have one at home. And it contains also the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence as an appendix.
In response to this question Bill Moyers asked the question to his audience: What one book do you want your next president to read?
See the replies here:
Other than the irksome nature of the original question from Katie Couric, for the Secular audience, how would you respond to this question?
My phrasing of the question would have been, “Other than the Constitution, what book would you have them read, and be tested on, before they are inaugurated?”