Hillary's presidential, sorry, book campaign gets two million boost
Hillary Clinton's new memoir Hard Choices, which isn't being released until June 10, is already sold out. Twice over.
US DIARY ORLA HEALY
Hours after publishers Simon & Schuster posted the book's "author's note" to www.hillaryclintonmemoir. com on Tuesday morning, pre-sales of the book from the website sold through its first one-million print-run – a figure that doesn't include the one million pre-orders from bookstores and other retail outlets.
The surge for the book owes much to a calculated if unconventional rollout that began three weeks ago with a slick "title reveal," followed by a Vogue excerpt focusing on Clinton's mother Dorothy, and the release on People.com of a video featuring the former secretary of state chatting about how she scribbled the manuscript in the attic of the Chappaqua home she shares with former Prez Bill Clinton.
The four-page author's note and a companion four-minute video package posted to Facebook on Wednesday are expected to drive the numbers even higher for what, pundits from both sides of the aisle agree, is a glossy campaign manifesto.
Among the jump-out lines from Hillary's "author's note," generating the most attention is one about how she decided on the title for her latest book. "All of us face hard choices in our lives. Some face more than their share," she writes. "Figuring out how to pay for college. Finding a good job, and what to do if you lose it. Whether to get married – or stay married."
Another is a strategic reflection on her tenure at the State Department. "As is usually the case with the benefit of hindsight, I wish we could go back and revisit certain choices," Hillary muses. "But I'm proud of what we accomplished."
The core message of Hillary's presumptive campaign is also neatly framed in a paragraph that delivers an overview of the book. "While my views and experiences will surely be scrutinised by followers of Washington's long-running soap opera – who took what side, who opposed whom, who was up and who was down – I didn't write this book for them," she writes. "I wrote it for Americans and people everywhere who are trying to make sense of this rapidly changing world of ours, who want to understand how leaders and nations can work together and why they sometimes collide, and how their decisions affect all our lives... I wrote it for anyone anywhere who wonders whether the United States still has what it takes to lead. For me, the answer is a resounding 'Yes.'" Enough said.
GOOPS, GWYNNIE ANGERS WAR VETS
Gwyneth Paltrow is consciously uncoupling from her haters. In a surprise appearance at the inaugural Code Conference in California last week the Goop Goddess told assembled news-techies that she actually feels sorry for her trolls and, in a dig that is already driving those numbers up, mocked her critics' need to project their insecurities on her.
Paltrow, who claims the "open rate" to her site (ie the percentage of subscribers who actually click to open her newsletters) is "more than double the industry average," began her address with an upbeat take on e-commerce before getting to the issue of comment threads which, she complained, "allow us the opportunity to project outward our hatred, our jealousy. It's culturally acceptable to say, 'I'm just going to take all of my internal pain and externalise it anonymously.'"
Paltrow was obviously trying to take the high road when she said she was becoming immune to cyber-criticism. "It's taken me a long time to get to the point where I can see these things and not take it as a personal affront and a hurt. I see myself as a chalkboard or a whiteboard or a screen, and someone is just putting up their own projection on it," she said. "It has nothing to do with me. They have an internal object, and they're putting it on me. I kind of look at it as, 'Wow this is an interesting social experiment.' You're talking about a blind stranger having feelings about you. It can only be projection."
She lost ground, however, when she compared her woes to the plight of war veterans. "It's almost like how, in war, you go through this bloody, dehumanising thing, and then something is defined out of it," Paltrow complained. "My hope is, as we get out of it, we'll reach the next level of conscience."
Cindy McCain, wife of former prisoner of war Senator John McCain, couldn't resist firing off her response. "Gweneth Paltrow is a joke. Her life is like taking bullets for a soldier. What a joke! My 2 sons serving in the military should talk to her," she tweeted. "Perhaps Gweneth Paltrow should go out on patrol with some soldiers. Kind of like a Red Carpet in her mind I guess!" Will be fun to hear GP interpret that one.
US BLUSHES OVER NOT-SO SECRET SPY
So much for top secret. There are plenty of red faces in the White House press office after staffers committed the remarkable gaffe of releasing the identity of the CIA's man (read: spy) in Kabul to more than 6,000 journalists.
The embarrassing clerical error occurred on Monday as President Obama was winging his way to Afghanistan to spend Memorial Day with US troops there. Washington Post White House bureau chief Scott Wilson, who was in charge of pulling together the mission's pool report, only caught the blunder after he sent out a list of the officials scheduled to meet with Obama during the day.
By the time Wilson reached out to ask the White House about the "unusual reference" to the "Chief of Station," on Obama's meet-and-greet schedule the high-ranking CIA operative's name was in the email boxes of more than 6,000 media-types. And on Twitter.
After what was described as some serious "scrambling" by Team Obama, news outlets agreed not to aggravate the situation any further by publishing the name of the man who, cover blown, was swiftly moved to an undisclosed location which, hopefully, will be kept quiet.
MINDY LAYS DOWN LAW FOR GRADUATES
Mindy Kaling didn't mess around when she delivered the keynote speech at Harvard Law School's Class Day on Wednesday afternoon. The creator and star of The Mindy Project gave the Ivy League grads what she said she hoped was an inspiring pep talk on the bright future they have ahead of them.
"With this diploma in hand, most of you will go on to the noblest of pursuits, like helping a cable company acquire a telecom company. You will defend BP from birds. You will spend hours arguing that the well water was contaminated well before the fracking occurred. One of you will sort out the details of my pre-nup. A dozen of you will help me with my acrimonious divorce."
The Dartmouth College grad, who is a native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, did cut the budding legal eagles a little slack by jokingly declaring that "Harvard Law is the best of the Harvard graduate programmes ... The Business School is full of crooks, the Divinity School is just a bunch of weird virgins, the School of Design is like European burnouts, and don't even get me started on the Kennedy School."