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Campaigning by the Book

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.

No Longer SIIC

Notice to the media and to copy editors around the world! The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which changed its name in May to just the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) has a new abbreviation. As the Loop pointed out Wednesday, Washington and others felt SIIC, or "sick," didn't seem right for one of the country's most powerful Shiite parties.

So word came yesterday that the English name has been changed to the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq -- (ISCI, or "iskey"). The Web site is being changed accordingly. Much better.

Piloting the FAA

Record delays, cancellations and such are giving airline passengers fits these days. The system is confronting contentious labor issues, complex technology overruns and general disarray.

So there's more than the usual interest in who might be replacing beleaguered Federal Aviation Administration chief Marion C . Blakey when her five-year term ends Sept. 13.

The buzz of late is that the leading contender is Barbara Barrett, a pilot, former deputy administrator of the agency in the Reagan administration and former vice chairman of the old Civil Aeronautics Board .

Barrett, an aviation lawyer who unsuccessfully ran for the GOP nomination for Arizona governor back in 1994, had been picked by President Bush in July 2003 to be secretary of the Air Force in anticipation of incumbent James Roche moving over to be Army secretary. But the latter move never happened.

It's unclear, in the waning days of the administration, whether Senate Democrats -- still fuming over the sleight-of-hand recess appointment of Missouri developer Sam Fox, a mega-GOP contributor and Swift Boat benefactor, to be ambassador to Belgium -- would be inclined to move on Barrett's nomination.

Well, if not, a recess appointment, good through the end of the administration, will at least afford Barrett, whose husband is Intel Chairman Craig Barrett, a trip to the Paris Air Show next year.

Gonzales Career Change?

For a week now, the Department of Justice Web site has headlined a press release about the indictment of a "Global Terrorist" and his brother on terrorism-related charges. When that terrorist is caught, just like with Osama bin Laden, he'll surely be shipped off to Guantanamo.

Hmmm. Didn't know Attorney General Alberto "Fredo" Gonzale s had a brother.

Moving Up

Speaking of the Justice Department, Brian Roehrkasse, deputy director of public affairs, is moving up to take the top spot in that office. Former public affairs chief Tasia Scolinos has retired after taking maternity leave. Roehrkasse, who worked on the Bush 2000 campaign, later worked at the Department of Transportation and then at the Department of Homeland Security. Peter Carr, now communications director for Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), moves over to be Roehrkasse's deputy.

Favorite for FEC

Cyndi Bauerly, legislative director for Sen. Charles "Hedgeman" Schumer (D-N.Y.) -- the liberal senator who defended preferential tax rates for hedge-fund gazillionaires -- is said to be the pick to be nominated for a Democratic seat on the dentally challenged Federal Election Commission. Bauerly would be taking the seat occupied by former chairman Ellen L. Weintraub.

Ripken to Pitch for State

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has picked Orioles great and Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken Jr. to be a special sports envoy, joining public diplomacy czarina Karen P. Hughes in "promoting cross-cultural dialogue with international youth to increase understanding of America," according to an announcement yesterday.

A little baseball promotion in the Middle East?

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