- The Washington Times - Monday, April 11, 2005

A new book could prove a roadblock to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s possible run for the White House in 2008 by promising revelations about the New York Democrat that could cast doubt among voters.

“The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President” by Edward Klein is due out in September. It’s being published by Sentinel, the two-year-old conservative imprint of publishing giant Penguin Putnam.

“Just as the Swift Boat Veterans convinced millions of voters that John Kerry lacked the character to be president, Klein’s book will influence everyone who is sizing up the character of Hillary Clinton,” the publisher noted in sales material.

Rumors that the book “won’t be pretty” and is brimming with “new dirt” have circulated in the New York press for the past four months.

Yesterday, online newshound Matt Drudge claimed the project was dubbed “Hillary in the Raw,” with content so explosive it could jeopardize Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy.

Mr. Klein - a former editor of the New York Times Magazine and a contributor to Vanity Fair and Parade magazines - also has written four dishy books on Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, her relationship with John F. Kennedy and the Kennedy family.

A 2003 book said John Kennedy Jr. and wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy were estranged when the couple died in a 1999 plane crash, and that Mrs. Kennedy was a cocaine addict who had refused to have children.

The author’s new offering, Mr. Drudge noted yesterday, had caused a rift among some editors at Penguin, which last year published “A Call to Service,” Sen. John Kerry’s book that outlined the Massachusetts Democrat’s vision for America.

There are no plans, however, to delay publication of Mr. Klein’s book.

“The current plan is that the Sentinel imprint of Penguin Group will publish “The Truth About Hillary’ on Sept. 8, 2005,” spokesman Will Weisser stated in an e-mail to The Washington Times yesterday.

“I can’t comment on any internal discussions that might or might not be happening within Penguin Group. The book is embargoed to the public and the media. The Drudge Report quoted from an early copy of our sales catalog,” Mr. Weisser said.

So, could the book bring down Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy before it begins”

“We don’t know what’s in it yet. Generally speaking, I can’t see a book offering dramatic prospects of altering Hillary’s candidacy this far out,” said New Jersey-based pollster Scott Rasmussen.

Last week, he inaugurated a twice-monthly poll about Mrs. Clinton called the Hillary Meter. The first survey of 1,500 adults released April 6 found 34 percent would vote for Mrs. Clinton as president and 37 percent would vote against her.

Mr. Rasmussen said Mrs. Clinton draws public curiosity because of the ?dynamics? generated by a former first lady who might run for president.

“But then, there’s nobody else on the stage right now,” he added.

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