If political memoirs are a prerequisite for presidential runs, then Hillary Clinton’s book tour for “Hard Choices” is a sort of dry run for a presidential campaign.
After a lengthy promotion process that involved interviews and targeted book leaks, Clinton’s memoir “Hard Choices” hits bookstores June 10.
The book is a carefully presented account of Clinton’s tenure in the State Department as Secretary of State. In it, she discusses her primary loss to Obama and the siege of the Libyan mission in Benghazi as well as more personal experiences like the loss of her mother and her early years as a wife and mother in Arkansas.
Time calls “Hard Choices” “a delicately curated account of her time at the State Department clearly aimed at shoring up her vulnerabilities in preparation for a possible presidential campaign.”
The book, not surprisingly, has been overshadowed by The Question: Is Hillary running for president? News outlets have been parsing every page of “Hard Choices” and probing each detail of Clinton’s book tour for clues as to whether the former Secretary of State will run for president in 2016.
“…she's weathered a relentless degree of scrutiny, her daily travels exhaustively chronicled, her every utterance parsed for meaning. Even matters like her daughter Chelsea's pregnancy are put to the will-or-won't-she test,” writes the LA Times.
For her part, Clinton has coyly maintained that she is exploring her options and will reach a decision later this year.
That hasn’t stopped the media from speculating. Chief among the gossip is this: promoting the book has given Hillary the chance to test the political waters.
It is a “minutely orchestrated book tour that will whisk her coast to coast for a mix of book signings and carefully calibrated television interviews,” says the LA Times.
Among them is a packed speaking circuit, book signings from Toronto to Austin, a campaign-style bus courtesy the Ready for Hillary super PAC, an interview with Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel in Clinton’s hometown of Chicago, and prime time interviews with the likes of Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America," and a town-hall-style event at the Newseum in Washington, DC, which will air on CNN.
In other words, Clinton’s book tour looks a lot like a full-fledged presidential campaign.
More proof folks are taking the memoir and book tour seriously? Conservatives have set up a counter-offensive to attack Clinton and her version of events with an e-book “Failed Choices,” released to coincide with her tour, as well as “Bad Choices,” a Republican National Committee-sanctioned 47-page booklet criticizing Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
Clinton appears to be paying little heed to the criticism or the speculation.
Echoing some version of the refrain “I have not yet made up my mind,” Clinton offers this in her book: “The time for another hard choice will come soon enough.”
As the LA Times puts it, “If nothing else, Clinton will sell a lot of books.” According to publisher Simon & Schuster, the initial printing of 1 million copies has already sold out.
Now if only Nate Silver could develop a model for using political book sales to determine future election results.
Husna Haq is a Monnitor correspondent.