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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 01/21/2011

What they're saying about "O: A Presidential Novel"

By Steven E. Levingston

obama novel.jpgThe reviews of "O: A Presidential Novel" are rolling in (mostly negative) and the speculation is still swirling over its authorship. Here's what is being said.

Is it worth reading?

The Washington Post

"According to this story, the White House will run with the slogan "Promises Made. Promises Kept." That's a little flat, but it feels about right for what we're about to endure over the next 22 months. If you want to get a jump on all that - the ads, the debates, the op-eds, the speeches - here's a blueprint that's probably pretty close to the mark."

New York Times

"Thoroughly lackadaisical performance — trite, implausible and decidedly unfunny."


"There are few vivid primary colors here."

Associated Press

"An enjoyable read for political junkies who can't wait for the next campaign to start."


"It is less a book than a marketing exercise."

National Journal

"All of the familiar tropes: candidates struggling to be ethical in an unethical world; rapacious journalists; a sex scandal—two, actually, but no sex scenes."

Entertainment Weekly

"Short on character, short on plot — a hapless, poorly executed attempt at satire that’s missing literally everything that Primary Colors had going for it: the detail, the zing, the insidery knowledge, the humor. Let’s give S&S an A for marketing O so well. But let’s give the book itself a D."

And who wrote it?

The Washington Post

"Is it someone like ABC's White House correspondent Jake Tapper or former troublemaking Wonkette Ana Marie Cox? (No, his carefully manicured reputation would suffer if the book was poorly received, and as for her, it's just not saucy enough.)"

The Guardian

"Rampant speculation has namechecked Rahm Emanuel (though he's a little busy running for mayor of Chicago)."

New York Post

"We're hearing buzz that Mark Salter, John McCain's closest aide and speechwriter on the 2008 campaign, is the ghostwriter. Salter co-authored McCain's biography, "Faith of My Fathers," and continues to work as a speechwriter. His adjective-filled style is similar to the "O" author's."

Toronto Star

"Denials of responsibility are already flooding in, not only from Axelrod but also from former White House staffers Desiree Rogers and Anita Dunn, as well as Obama biographers Richard Wolffe and Jonathan Alter."

American Thinker

"My suspect served as a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State for 23 years, but left government employ a few years back in order to devote full-time to his writing. He has written three novels. His name is James Bruno."

Huffington Post

Speculation ranges "from Joe Klein and humorist Christopher Buckley to Jon Stewart and Obama campaign guru David Plouffe. Even HuffPost's own Howard Fineman." Story with photos of suspects.

By Steven E. Levingston  | January 21, 2011; 12:00 PM ET
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Next: BOOK WORLD - January 23, 2011

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