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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 01/ 5/2011

Anonymous novel on Obama stirs Beltway buzz

By Stephen Lowman

o novel.JPGIts publisher is remaining tight-lipped, but the buzz is building around a forthcoming novel about the Obama administration. Other than its Jan. 25 publication date, little is known about “O: A Presidential Novel” — including who wrote it.

The anonymously authored roman à clef numbers 368 pages, has a retail price of $25.99, and is being released by Simon & Schuster (though there is no mention of the book on its website). The person behind it supposedly has “vast personal experience” on the subject of Obama’s White House, according to news reports on the book.

Simon & Schuster did not respond to requests for comment.

Inevitably, comparisons have been drawn to the novel “Primary Colors.” Also written anonymously, it told the story of a southern governor’s Democratic presidential campaign. The book was clearly inspired by Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential run and full of insidery details that set Beltway tongues wagging. Although he strenuously denied it for months, journalist Joe Klein later admitted he was the author.

Not surprisingly, then, speculation as to who wrote “O: A Presidential Novel” has turned to Klein. But in an interview with Yahoo News, Klein said: "I absolutely deny writing it, have no idea who did, have no idea what's in it."

There is one name firmly attached to the novel, however. Actor and director Campbell Scott reads the book’s audio version. His previous voice-over work includes the Iraq War documentary No End in Sight, along with television commercials for Chevron and Häagen-Dazs. You can hear his voice on the Häagen-Dazs “Ode to Flavor” ad, which plays on the ice cream maker’s homepage.

Think you know who the author of "O" is? Contribute to the guessing game in the comments.

By Stephen Lowman  | January 5, 2011; 2:00 PM ET
Tags:  obama anonymous novel; white house novel;  
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My guess - Van Jones.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | January 5, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Kal Penn

Posted by: GFisher1 | January 5, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

The wonderful thing about being anonymous is being anonymous. So therefore my guess is that it will be a collaboration between Fox News journalist (and I use that term quite loosely) and those PT Boat Vets for Truth (and I use the word Truth even more loosely). It will be filled with lies, reported on night and day and before the real truth is known who is behind it, the damage has been done. I started this out jokingly, but now I have scared myself!

Posted by: jrussell1 | January 5, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

It was probably written by the same person who wrote Sarah Palin's books for her.

Posted by: topperale | January 5, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

As with all anonymously written work it will have as much value as the name of the author gives it. Worthless. If you have something to say, you should be willing to sign it. Robin Sherman

Posted by: shermanr1 | January 5, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Vince Foster.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 5, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

L. Ron Hubbard

Posted by: baldinho | January 5, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

If even just to make this comment I must sign in, how come then an unknown person can pen a book, sign publishing contracts, state a price that we willingly pay and collect royalties without divulging his/her name? if you have something factual to say, put your name to it!!!! I can only guess the author is a ghost.

Posted by: mmuleri | January 5, 2011 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Ronnie Raygun's head in a jar.

Posted by: john65001 | January 5, 2011 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Larry Sinclair

Posted by: getjiggly2 | January 5, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Dan Brown

Posted by: moodrd | January 5, 2011 8:17 PM | Report abuse

O, who cares?

Posted by: gbooksdc | January 6, 2011 1:29 AM | Report abuse

The infamous hidden original typewritten long form birth certificate features prominently as the missing link that really doesn't exist. But not because of birth outside the United States, as some incorrectly believe. Rather the alleged identity of the real parents. Stanley Armour Dunham, the "grandfather" thought by many to be the real dad, and an unidentified black female from the Honolulu beatnik scene features as the actual mom. Back from when Stanley and his close pal Frank Marshall Davis were hanging out hep cats, drinking, smoking, jazzing, poetry reading lefty political talking scene, big daddy-o. So Stanley's daughter was really the sister, raising the kid with the Kenyan cat as cover, until he soon split. Ridiculous? Maybe. Maybe not.

Posted by: FlashHarry | January 6, 2011 5:02 AM | Report abuse


Ridiculous? Definitely.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | January 6, 2011 5:56 AM | Report abuse

Robert Gibbs he's leaving right around the same time. 'vast personal experience on the subject of the Obama White House'

Posted by: brianthatradioguy | January 6, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Barack Obama

Posted by: pappapol | January 6, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Pauline Reage.

Posted by: jloudis | January 6, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton

Posted by: mypitts2 | January 6, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Now I understand the timing of Gibbs' departure.

Posted by: filfeit | January 6, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The quality of a book has little to do with the author's anonymity.
Has anyone here ever read Primary Colors? It's ridiculously entertaining (up to the point where it veers away from following the campaign).

In this case, it's probably a marketing stunt to draw attention. There's a long history of authors writing under pseudonyms. Even Steven King wrote a few under another name (Thinner was one of them).


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 6, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

The Bidens?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | January 6, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade, Erle Stanley Gardner (of "Perry Mason" fame) also wrote under a number of pseudonyms.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | January 6, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

A close, trusted and influential "adviser" to the President originating from the Three Northeast Provinces.

Posted by: aea2 | January 9, 2011 2:22 AM | Report abuse

Ryan Lizza covered the campaign for the New Yorker, was going to write a book about it, and then didn't. I'd say he's a good possibility.

Posted by: Porchland | January 10, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

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