Mexican poll contender Pena Nieto falters at book event

BBC News, 12/5/11

Mexico’s leading presidential contender Enrique Pena Nieto gave new ammunition to his critics this weekend. Asked to name three books that had had an impact on him, he floundered before saying that, as an adolescent, he had been influenced by the Bible.

Political opponents have often accused Mr Pena Nieto – a handsome and telegenic politician married to a television actress – of being “hollow”. He holds a comfortable lead in polls ahead of July’s presidential election. The former Mexico State governor has become the best hope for Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to win the presidency it held for more than 70 uninterrupted years until 2000, analysts say.

At a book fair in Guadalajara, Mr Pena Nieto, 45, was asked by a member of the audience about his reading record. For minutes he hesitated, before mentioning that he had read “parts of” the Bible. He then rambled on, confusing titles, forgetting the names of authors and sometimes mismatching them. He said he liked a novel by Enrique Krauze called The Eagle’s Throne (La Silla del Aguila), only to be reminded that it had been written by Carlos Fuentes.

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