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  • Sunday, January 25, 2004

     

    Writing one more book than George Bush has read

    We see that Bill Clinton, the last elected President of the Former United States, is struggling to finish his book:

    With the clock ticking, Clinton is buckling down. Although he is still traveling (this week to the World Economic Forum in Davos), aides are "trying to keep him under house arrest," says one source. He even has "book time" built into his schedule as if it were a meeting or a speech.

    But it's still going slowly. In addition to putting pen to yellow pad (he does not use a computer) and relying on the 85 audiotapes he recorded while in office, the former president tapes conversations with his former speechwriter Ted Widmer several times a month. A former aide familiar with the system explains that Clinton likes to "talk out ideas first," and Widmer is his sounding board. Sometimes specific topics are covered; other times Clinton prefers Widmer to ask him questions. Once the inexhaustible Clinton starts, says the aide, "the floodgates open."

    One person familiar with the draft describes the book as "really long and searching," an attempt to "pull all the pieces of his life together." It's hard for him to decide what to leave out. And it's also difficult for Clinton to "make final judgments and come to terms with things," says a friend. The writing has been taxing both "physically and psychologically," says another. The book runs from his birth to the present, and will likely include his own account of the Lewinsky scandal. Clinton "sees the book as a big part of his legacy," says an associate.

    Although Clinton is still writing, plans are being made for a rollout that will trump that of Hillary Clinton's when "Living History" debuted last year. There will be appearances on morning shows and primetime specials. Although he won't elaborate, lawyer Bob Barnett teases that "in some ways [the rollout] will be unique." Clinton won't avoid weighing in on the presidential contest; according to a source, "there will be enough in there" to keep interviewers occupied with the book, so Clinton will "kind of balance it" with answering the inevitable questions about the race. The book is still untitled. Someone close to Clinton says, "With a person like him, titles don't matter."


    Might I suggest titling it, in keeping with this evening's French theme:

    Apr├Ęs Moi, Le Dolt


     

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