- The Washington Times - Monday, June 20, 2005

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A Hillary Rodham Clinton biography that hits bookstores today portrays the senator from New York as a ruthless and ambitious woman, but relies heavily on earlier works about the former first lady.

Conservatives say the 305-page book is so damning that it could destroy any bid for the presidency in 2008.

“The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President,” by Edward Klein, portrays the Democratic senator as someone who would stop at nothing to protect her husband’s presidency and promote a Clinton II administration headed by her.

Promotional material from Sentinel books, a conservative imprint started by the Penguin Group, promises a work that “contains shocking new accounts of key moments in Mrs. Clinton’s private and political life,” but the book relies heavily on earlier works.

“She’s been written about so frequently that it’s impossible not to cover some of the same ground,” Mr. Klein said yesterday. He added, however, that the book contains plenty of new material and insights.

There are 30 pages of end notes, many of which cite those previous works as grist for Mr. Klein’s coverage of Bill Clinton’s womanizing, his wife’s efforts to save him from the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the prominent role the first lady played during her husband’s White House years. Other sources cited by Mr. Klein are often anonymous.

The Clinton camp lashed out at the book yesterday.

“We don’t comment on works of fiction, let alone a book full of blatant and vicious fabrications contrived by someone who writes trash for cash,” said Philippe Reines, a spokesman for the senator.

Jim Kennedy, a spokesman for Mr. Clinton, also called the book “trash.”

Will Weisser, Sentinel’s associate publisher, said 350,000 copies have been printed.

Such works, said Clinton adviser turned critic Dick Morris, can backfire.

“Personal attacks on Hillary Clinton and her marriage only tend to invigorate her and permit her to characterize all criticism as extreme and personal,” Mr. Morris wrote in an e-mail exchange with the Associated Press. “These personal shots obscure the more serious questions about her lack of qualifications to be a good president.”

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