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New Clinton Memoir Breaks Sales Record

Aired June 10, 2003 - 20:33   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hillary Rodham Clinton's new book needed one day to become a record-breaker. The Barnes & Noble book store chain reports that "Living History" sold 40,000 copies yesterday, more than any other nonfiction book at the chain on its first day of release.
Joining me now is Financial News correspondent Mary Snow to give us the lowdown on Senator Clinton's book sales. Thanks for being with us.


COOPER: She got an $8 million advance. Unheard of. They printed up an initial run of one million books. How's it doing?

SNOW: You know, so far, so good. As you said, one million. They've already ordered 300,000 more and...

COOPER: In addition to the million they've already printed.

SNOW: The million. Yes. And you know, it all started here yesterday. Senator Clinton was here in New York to sign the books and about a thousand people or so showed up at the Barnes & Noble to see it.

COOPER: Yes, some of the people waiting even overnight. I heard they got there the night before.

SNOW: Yes. And apparently, she had to stay longer than they had planned. And so Barnes & Noble came out today saying, as you said, it was a record day for nonfiction. They're expecting this to be their best-seller for nonfiction books. And the publisher is saying that it's above their expectations. They...

COOPER: Unbelievable.

SNOW: It is unbelievable.

COOPER: Simon & Shuster, 200,000 copies sold, 40,000 copies...

SNOW: In the first day.

COOPER: ... the first day alone. That's just amazing. Let's talk about the top advances that have been out there. I mean, as we said, Senator Clinton got $8 million. I believe her husband got... SNOW: He's No. 1 on the list.

COOPER: No. 1. Let's look at them.

SNOW: A $10 million advance for Bill Clinton. Right after him, the pope, $8.5 million. Hillary Clinton third. Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, at $7.1 million. And Colin Powell, $6.5 million. So a lot of expectations in terms of...

COOPER: But they're still often a gamble for these publishers. I mean, they don't know whether people are going to turn out. I know there was a lot of controversy about Jack Welch's book sort of...

SNOW: Right.

COOPER: ... not living up to some of the expectations people had of it. Let's talk about this book as it relates to other first couples who have put out books.

SNOW: Interestingly enough, it turns out that the first ladies tend to do better than the former presidents.

COOPER: Really?

SNOW: We took a look at Barbara Bush and George Bush. He wrote a book in 1993, "World Transformed." Barbara Bush had a $2.2 million advance. As you can see, sold 725,000. When George Bush wrote his book, it did not make a best-seller.

COOPER: Oh, that's interesting.

SNOW: And then if take a look at the Reagans, Nancy Reagan had an advance of about $3 million, Ronald Reagan was $6 million. But the expectations were much higher. He did not live up to those expectations in terms of sales. She actually sold more books. So it'll be interesting to see if that trend continues when Bill Clinton comes out with his book.

COOPER: It all -- yes, it'll be interesting to see how much of the -- whether the Clinton -- interest in the Clinton presidency really continues on that, in terms of book sales. There have been some Clinton books out there already. How have they done?

SNOW: Right. Do you remember, "It Takes a Village"?

COOPER: Right.

SNOW: Hillary Clinton wrote that in the '90s. That sold about 400,000 when it came out, so...

COOPER: And then the Monica Lewinsky...

SNOW: The Monica Lewinsky book -- when -- just to compare, in terms of the books that were ordered, about half the amount that Hillary Clinton had, in terms of her book seller. She got a $1 million advance. But I also want to point out that she did not write that book. She had Princess Diana's biographer write that book for her.

COOPER: Right.

SNOW: And then George Stephanopoulos had a best-seller. I think it was 1999 when he came out with his book.

COOPER: Right.

SNOW: So a lot of...

COOPER: And also, Sidney Blumenthal has a book out, you know, Clinton -- Clinton aide, who -- his book is out now. Be interesting to see how well that does, how long that stays on best-seller lists.

Mary Snow, thanks for being us. Interesting.

SNOW: Good to be here.

COOPER: Thanks.

All right, Senator Clinton will speak for herself in just a few minutes, when she is the guest on CNN's "LARRY KING LIVE." Let's get a preview right now from our congressional correspondent, Jonathan Karl in Washington.

Now, Jonathan, what should we be looking for, do you think, in tonight's interview?

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, one thing that'll be interesting to look for is how Hillary Clinton responds to her critics. This is her first live interview since her book was released, and she's been coming under some criticism by people who that simply don't believe one aspect of her book which has gotten the most attention, her contention that she did not know about the Monica Lewinsky relationship with her husband until two days before he announced it to the rest of the world. You know the description. She says she was shocked, she was gasping for breath. Well, critics point to a front-page story in "The New York Times" a day before that.

Remember, the president confessed on August 17, 1998. Hillary says that she was told about it on August 15. Well, on August 14, "The New York Times" had a front-page story that talked about how the president and his advisers were weighing confessing all in the testimony before Ken Starr's grand jury. In that story, front-page story, it starts with this paragraph. "President Clinton has had extensive discussions with his inner circle about a strategy of acknowledging to a grand jury on Monday that he had intimate sexual encounters with Monica S. Lewinsky in the White House. That was on the front page of "The New York Times" the day before Senator Clinton says that she was informed by her husband. So some people are finding it not very credible that she would have had no idea about the truth of this relationship.

Then there is the account written by "Washington Post" reporter Peter Baker, who wrote a book about impeachment. Peter Baker writes that it was the president's personal lawyer, Peter Kendall -- David Kendall -- I'm sorry -- who told Hillary Clinton about this two days before she says that she was told about it. In that account, Peter Baker's book, he writes, "and so it fell to David Kendall at that critical moment to play emissary from husband to wife to disclose the most awful secret of any marriage. Something obviously had gone on between the president and Lewinsky, Kendall had told the first lady in his soft, understated way."

Now, finally, beyond that, there's also a question about the Sidney Blumenthal book, Anderson, which you just mentioned. Sidney Blumenthal was a senior White House aide at this time, a friend of both Clintons. He talks about talking to Hillary and Bill Clinton on August 17th, the day the president confessed. Now, if you remember, in Hillary's book, in Senator Clinton's book, she says that at this point, she was not even -- or barely talking to the president, she was so angry.

Well, in Sidney Blumenthal's book, he writes, quote, that he calls Hillary and Bill Clinton by telephone, the phone gets passed to somebody else, and, quote, "I could hear the president and Hillary bantering in the background. They were still working as a team." Sidney Blumenthal writes that of what he experienced and what he heard on August 17, a time when now Senator Clinton says she was barely on speaking terms with her husband. So it will be interesting to see how she responds to all of that.

She has responded briefly to this. She had a press conference at her first book signing yesterday in New York. She was asked about this, and she said simply that she believes her account is completely consistent with what Sidney Blumenthal has written. And as for the Peter Baker book, she says, Well, look, that's based on anonymous sources. I was actually there. I know the story. It's my story. It's my experience.

COOPER: All right. Jonathan Karl, thanks very much, Jonathan. Actually, I should mention I talked to Blumenthal last night. He also said he didn't see any sort of discrepancy between his account and Senator Clinton's account. But again, we'll be watching "LARRY KING LIVE," starts in about 20 minutes from now. Jonathan Karl, thanks a lot.

SNOW: All right. Sure thing.

COOPER: And as we mentioned before, don't have to rush out and buy her book to find out what Senator Clinton has to say. She's going to be on in just a couple minutes. Stay tuned, 9:00 PM Eastern time, Senator Clinton's first live television interview about her book, only on "LARRY KING LIVE."


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