Paul Ryan Loves Ayn Rand: 6 Political Candidates' Favorite Books

08/15/2012 03:31 pm ET | Updated Aug 18, 2012

Recently selected Mitt Romney vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is a longtime fan of Ayn Rand, particularly her book "Atlas Shrugged."

“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!

Favorite Books Of Candidates Past And Present

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