Michelle Obama's 'socialist books' disappear on closer study

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"Photo Evidence: Michelle Obama Keeps Socialist Books In The White House Library," blared the headline on conservative radio host Rob Port's blog following a tour of the presidential residence last week, after he spotted books including The American Socialist Movement 1897-1912 and The Social Basis of American Communism on the library's shelves.

Port ignited a storm, quickly drawing almost 300 comments to his post on the popular political blog SayAnythingBlog.com, and a rash of links across the internet. "I wonder if the liberals who mock conservatives who refer to Obama as a socialist still find it funny?" wrote All American Blogger. "By itself, this wouldn't be that big of a deal. But [in] the context of Obama's economic policies? Well, I'll let you make your own call," wrote Port, a self-styled bibliophile.

Some commenters were just as scandalised by the books' presence in the White House library as Port. Others were more cynical. "Fortunately, most of us live in a world where we're allowed to have books besides the Bible and a sticky copy of Going Rogue," wrote one. "I have a copy of Mein Kampf on my shelf (next to Winston Churchill, incidentally). Does that make me a Nazi?" asked another, while a third sarcastically suggested dealing with the "filthy socialists" by starting an organisation. "Perhaps call it the National Anti-Socialism Institute, or NASI (perhaps change the 's' to a 'z' to give it a little edge?), and go around removing this unconscionable literature from our country in the interest of protecting and promoting our pure culture."

The only problem, the Washington Post reveals, is that the books have been in the library since 1963, after Jackie Kennedy asked a Yale University librarian to oversee a committee that would select books for the library.

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