Clinton Memoir Timing
As Bill Clinton seeks to finish his memoirs, leading Democrats are voicing concern that the book could overshadow Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign, diverting attention to Mr. Clinton’s outsize legacy of scandal and achievement.
Many Democrats said they wanted the book published as far as possible before the election and, certainly, before the Democratic National Convention in late July. They fear that the book will embolden Mr. Clinton’s foes to turn out and vote for President Bush.
Mr. Clinton, for his part, has increased the nervous speculation about the book in Democratic circles by making a habit of picking up the phone to regale friends with long passages and even chapters of his prose. Mixing boyish enthusiasm with a craving for approval, people who have received the calls said, he has proudly narrated excerpts about everything from college antics with his pals at Georgetown to his 1995 standoff with Republicans that led to a government shutdown.
Some of Mr. Clinton’s friends say he should hurry up.
“It’ll get a lot of air space and I think it’s kind of imperative that happen in front of the convention,” said John D. Podesta, a chief of staff in Mr. Clinton’s White House. That way, he said, “Kerry’s benefited by having a clear shot, clear air space, from the convention through November.”
A close associate of Mr. Kerry, offering a personal opinion, said: “If it comes out any time before the election, it’s not particularly good for us because he takes up a lot of oxygen. It’s less that he’s a negative and more that he’ll be out on his book tour and he’ll be the story of the week rather than John Kerry.”