The conservative buzz about Edward Klein's forthcoming book on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton began two months ago, when Internet gossip Matt Drudge quoted "a source close to Klein" as warning that the book's revelations "should sink her candidacy."

"The sources say the revelations inside could torpedo Hillary Clinton's chances at a run at the White House," said MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman. The book "could prove a roadblock" to the New York senator's White House ambitions, said the Washington Times.

Well, maybe. But an excerpt from July's Vanity Fair is less than devastating. Klein reports that then-Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), who endorsed Clinton for his seat, didn't much like the first lady and was concerned that she told people he never held hearings on her health care plan, when he had convened numerous hearings. Moynihan's wife, Liz, is described as telling a "friend" that Clinton is "duplicitous" and "would say or do anything that would forward her ambitions."

Vanity Fair outed Mark Felt as Deep Throat last week, but the hard shots against Clinton here are taken by unnamed sources.

Klein, a former New York Times Magazine editor and author of several volumes on the Kennedys, depicts Clinton as an incompetent candidate who somehow managed to get elected in 2000. She is described by visitors as a baggy-eyed "zombie" and is now transforming herself "from the old, radical Hillary into the new, moderate Hillary." One unattributed tidbit says that former president Bill Clinton wanted his wife to seek the presidency last year but that she decided she needed to establish a longer record and deemed President Bush to be unbeatable as a wartime president.

Financially Committed

Much to be humble about: Tom Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, put out a news release last week announcing his consultants for his bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in 2006. "I am humbled by the commitments of these professionals," he said.

He did not mention the immodest sum he will be paying these professionals to make such humility-inducing commitments.

Quotable

"I want that bill to come to the floor like I want a heart attack."

-- Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) speaking to reporters yesterday about a bill to limit asbestos settlements.

Staff writer Dana Milbank contributed to this report.