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Campaigning by the Book

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By Al Kamen
Friday, August 10, 2007

Author! Author! Seems just about everyone running for president these days has just had, or is about to have, a book out. This must be serendipity, but the themes -- faith, courage, leadership, character, compassion -- seem oddly campaign-appropriate.

On the Republican side, for example, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has cranked out not one but two books this year -- "From Hope to Higher Ground" in January and "Character Makes a Difference" on June 1.

Loop favorite and Texas congressman Ron Paul has just come out with "A Foreign Policy of Freedom." Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas published "Power to Purpose: A Remarkable Journey of Faith and Compassion" in July.

Some candidates pop up on bookstore shelves by simply updating old books. So former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in June put out a paperback of a 2004 book, "Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games" but "with a new preface on leadership." Unclear if he's going to explain there some of those curiously liberal positions he took as governor.

Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) this week put out a paperback called "Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember." Remembering to vote, of course . . .

Rep. Tom "Nuke 'em" Tancredo (Colo.) doesn't have one this year, but he did a couple just last year focusing on his bread-and-butter issue, immigration. The Thompson boys, Fred and Tommy, are not on Amazon.com's lists, nor is Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.). And nothing this year from former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware last month put out "Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics," which seems to be going well. (His audio version will be 100 CDs including various digressions into interesting topics.)

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's "Between Worlds: The Making of an American Life" came out in 2005, but a paperback version happened to appear in March.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio debuts soon with "The Courage to Believe," which features a spectacular publisher's promo that says, "The power of courage and magic of faith transform this inspiring political autobiography of presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich into a compelling self-help book for those who are searching for the key to achieving their own dreams."

Former senator John Edwards (N.C), whose wife, Elizabeth, wrote "Saving Graces" in 2006, has his name in big type on "Ending Poverty in America," which came out in April. Turns out he only edited that.

Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd's offering in September is "Letters From Nuremberg: My Father's Narrative of a Quest for Justice," based on former senator Thomas Dodd's letters while a prosecutor at the trials.

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has no new hardbacks out this year, according to the Amazon Web site, nor does Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. Of course, both are best-selling authors already. Obama in March added to his oeuvre with a slim (166-page) paperback, "Barack Obama in His Own Words." Probably would have had more words if he'd had a longer career.


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