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Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 01/27/2011

Is McCain strategist Mark Salter the "Anonymous" behind "O"? Do you even care?

By The Reliable Source

Mark Salter on the McCain campaign trail, 2008. (Melina Mara/TWP)

All of Washington has been abuzz over who might be "Anonymous," author of the new White House novel "O." Well, no, scratch that. Let's be honest: The buzz has been scant. After a wave of hype, "O" was released Tuesday to tepid reviews and early Amazon rankings (it trails a four-month-old Vince Flynn thriller in the "political novels" niche) that suggest we're not looking at a "Primary Colors"-level hit.

So does anyone care who Anonymous is?

Halperin (William B. Plowman/NBC/AP)

On Thursday, Time's Mark Halperin fingered John McCain strategist Mark Salter, citing "sources" who he said confirmed it and some circumstantial evidence: Salter's longtime editor is Simon & Schuster's "O" shepherd Jonathan Karp; Salter's been lying low in Maine since leaving McCain's staff.

True? Salter gave a standard non-denial to our colleague Rachel Weiner ("I've been asked not to comment, and I won't.") We'll get meta with our own analysis: Salter was a significant character in Halperin's bestseller "Game Change," so ... seems like he's a guy who might know.

Only hitch: S&S promised that the author was someone who'd "been in the room" with Obama. A McCain aide? Sounds like we're talking about a pretty big room.

Read also: The Fix: Time: Mark Salter wrote anonymous Obama novel 'O'

Read earlier: Ron Charles reviews 'O: A Presidential Novel'
Who wrote 'O'? Guess away.

By The Reliable Source  | January 27, 2011; 10:00 PM ET
Categories:  Politics  
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