Top Bush flack grinds out candidate's memoir

George W. mentions Robert H. Bork and Lewis Carroll, but communications director Karen Hughes reveals no literary influences.

Published October 7, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

Karen Hughes, the communications director of Gov. George W. Bush's presidential campaign, has a lot on her plate these days. In addition to her job as the Republican presidential candidate's chief spokeswoman and press coach, the 43-year-old former TV reporter now also has to burn some midnight oil to finish writing Bush's campaign book, "A Charge to Keep," which William Morrow still expects to release in mid-November.

Approached on Tuesday at a Bush fund-raiser held by the Manhattan Institute in New York, Hughes was elliptical about her writerly aspirations. When asked if any political memoirs have influenced the governor's campaign book, she said, "Not really." When asked if there were any memoirs that the Republican front-runner has used as models, she said no. And when asked if any books have informed the upcoming memoir, she replied, "We're doing it our own unique way." She did add that "the book will have some of the key events in his life and the important choices he has made."

Last month, Hughes replaced Houston Chronicle sportswriter Mickey Herskowitz, who was dismissed after he handed in a manuscript that was too late for the Bush camp's liking (and apparently a little too haphazard, as well).

In his speech to Republican minions about his educational platform, however, the governor himself did make some bookish references, citing both Robert Bork's "Slouching Toward Gomorrah" and Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland."

Bush's upcoming book faces some stiff competition. While his rival Republican candidates may not be setting the polls ablaze, they have been burning up the bestseller lists. Arizona Sen. John McCain's Random House title, "Faith of My Fathers," will be No. 3 on the Oct. 10 New York Times bestseller list, while Patrick J. Buchanan's Regnery title, "A Republic, Not an Empire," will debut at No. 13.

By Craig Offman

Craig Offman is the New York correspondent for Salon Books.

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