Bill Clinton had the opportunity to delay release of his presidential memoirs, but instead chose to release them in late June, believing it would allow him to help the Democratic Party in the November elections.
"It was portrayed as a personal and political decision on his part," says a publicity associate for Knopf, the publisher of Clinton's upcoming book. "We could have held off until after November and still made a huge push for Christmas. We could easily have had him doing advance publicity to generate sales. But he wanted it this way."
Clinton, who is said to have been paid more than $10 million for the book, is still writing it. And the book is being published on a schedule more in line with a quickie book that is designed to make money off a person's 15 minutes of fame than with a traditional, presidential memoir.
"It's going to be brutal. As far as we have been told, we aren't even halfway through a working galley for our editors," says the Knopf source. "Generally, for a book like this you like to have two or three months to really create something special. We don't have that luxury."
Clinton's decision to push the book through in late June/early July, means he will be getting almost nonstop media attention throughout the summer. While some DNC insiders claim Clinton's media presence will hurt Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, Clinton apparently thinks otherwise.
"He thinks this will allow him to speak out in support of Senator Kerry in any number of forums, from Oprah to Dateline NBC," says a former Clinton Administration staffer with knowledge of the discussions on Clinton's PR push. "And really, this election is less about Kerry and more about getting Bush and Republicans out of power. Clinton knows he can help a lot more Democrats out on the stump, pushing this book, than just Kerry."
Clinton apparently is anticipating a major role at the Democratic Convention, as he has cleared three days of publicity for the book for his presence in Boston. Otherwise, he will be spending his summer vacation crisscrossing the country, doing numerous TV shows.
According to a Kerry campaign source, intermediaries for the once and possibly future leaders of the free world discussed the release date of the book, and that Kerry's camp, while expressing concern about a pre-election release, explicitly asked only that it not be released in September or October.
BAYH THE WAY
Look for former Indiana governor and current U.S. Senator Evan Bayh maybe to travel out of Washington in the near future for serious face time with John Kerry. Bayh has met with Kerry's vice-presidential vetter Jim Johnson at least twice, but Bayh has not sat down with Kerry. While the two know each other from the Senate, they were not considered to have a close working relationship.
Bayh is considered a top tier candidate if only because of his moderate credentials as governor, and because the Kerry camp believes he can help the campaign win Ohio and Pennsylvania, two states Kerry would have to win to have a shot at the White House.
Kerry campaign staffers say any meetings between the candidate and prospective veeps will most likely take place in Kerry's Boston or Washington, D.C. homes. "Any of the other homes are too isolated. High profile guests would get picked up too easily," says a source.
Kerry is believed to have held initial meetings with some potential No. 2's, including Iowa governor Tom Vilsack and New Mexico governor Bill Richardson. No meeting has occurred with Sen. John Edwards or Rep. Dick Gephardt.
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