“There is no better place to find the moral case for capitalism and individualism," Ryan told The Atlas Society in 2005, "than through Ayn Rand’s writings and works."
To some, Ryan's adherence to Rand's ideologies is counterintuitive to his other beliefs. For example, Rand was an atheist who scorned Ronald Reagan for attempting to fuse church and state. Because of this, Ryan, a Catholic, has recently claimed to prefer the writings of Italian Dominican priest Thomas Aquinas, and told the National Review explicitly that he "reject[s Rand's] philosophy."
Still, Slate says Ryan's Rand references have been so frequent and impassioned that "he can no more denounce Rand than he can denounce his own white grandmother."
How much can a beloved book really tell you about a political candidate? The Washington Post analyzed what Ryan's love of Rand says about his economic policies, but should we really be reading (hah!) that much into it?
That got us thinking, though: what are other political candidates' favorite reads? Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, and Sarah Palin all seem to have tamer, more universally loved favorite picks than Ryan. Check out the favorite books of other recent presidential and vice presidential candidates, and let us know what you think they say about the candidates, if anything!
Ryan gave a speech to The Atlas Society in 2005 about Rand's influence on his political beliefs, stating, "I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are."
In 2007, Romney claimed to have enjoyed Ron Hubbard's (yes, that Ron Hubbard) "Battlefield Earth" when asked about his favorite book. He has since said that he prefers "Huckleberry Finn," and also talked about reading "Twilight."
Biden once stated on his Facebook that his favorite book is "American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation" by Jon Meacham.
Obama has been portrayed as a literary president (this letter about Eliot that he wrote to a college beaux surfaced earlier this year, and there have been many roundups of his recent reads). When The New York Times asked Obama about authors who have influenced him, he cited Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Jefferson, Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, James Baldwin. But during the 2008 campaign, the book he cited most often was Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon," which he also mentioned in an interview with Rolling Stone.
In an interview with Charlie Rose, Palin said that she loves C.S. Lewis, "very very deep."
In an interview with Katie Couric, McCain said his favorite book was "For Whom The Bell Tolls" by Ernest Hemingway.