Saturday, January 08, 2011

Who Wrote the Secret New Obama Novel?

by Lloyd Grove at The Daily Beast

Lloyd Grove is editor at large for The Daily Beast. He is also a frequent contributor to New York magazine and was a contributing editor for Condé Nast Portfolio. He wrote a gossip column for the New York Daily News from 2003 to 2006. Prior to that, he wrote the Reliable Source column for the Washington Post, where he spent 23 years covering politics, the media, and other subjects.

Could it be Robert Gibbs? Joe Klein? David Plouffe? The race is on to figure out the author of a new novel about the Obama administration, says Lloyd Grove—and no one has even read the book yet.

It is, at minimum, an intriguing coincidence that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs announced his resignation a mere three weeks before Simon & Schuster is publishing its much-buzzed-about January 25 release, O: A Presidential Novel by the celebrated author “Anonymous.”

The book, described in news accounts as a 368-page roman à clef inspired by President Obama and his inner circle, has yet to leak, nor has Campbell Scott’s audio version been heard. The rumors suggest that the mysterious unnamed author has “vast personal experience” of the president and is privy to Obama’s 2012 re-election strategy.

That fits Gibbs to a T—though any informed speculation shouldn’t ignore the fact that the presidential spokesman has seemed rather busy during the past two years and hasn’t heretofore demonstrated much literary flair (unless one counts some of his priceless tweets and official “Statements by the Press Secretary,” which can, on his best days, be reminiscent of Tolstoy in the original Russian).

Perhaps we might direct our search elsewhere.

“I don’t think it would be a member of his administration—more likely a reporter who is looking to cash in, and thinks he or she can sell more books by writing it anonymously,” said a veteran White House correspondent—who, naturally, demanded anonymity. “Doing it anonymously could be a lot better than the reality. Primary Colors was a pretty good book before you found out that Joe Klein had written it.”

The full fascinating piece at The Daily Beast. 

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