Thursday, September 09, 2004

New Bush biography causing stir

New Bush biography causing stir:
"It is the book some Republicans have been worrying about for weeks, filled with lurid allegations by a celebrity biographer whose controversial reputation has only boosted her sales.

Kitty Kelley's volume on the Bush family won't be published until next week, but the White House communications director dismissed the book Tuesday as "garbage" and a Republican National Committee spokeswoman said journalists should treat it as "fiction."

With the author booked for numerous television interviews, including three straight mornings on NBC's "Today" starting Monday, "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty," published by Doubleday, is certain to generate media attention in the heat of a presidential campaign."

Peter Gethers, Kelley's Doubleday editor, said the publisher's chief counsel and Kelley's own lawyer went over the book "with a fine-toothed comb."

"It was as extensive a legal read as a publisher could give," Gethers said. "Some things didn't make it, and we're 100 percent confident of the things that made it in."

…the book contains, among other things,
allegations of past drug use by President Bush…

…Gethers confirmed the accuracy of a report in London's Mail on Sunday that said the book contains, among other things, allegations of past drug use by President Bush. One of the sources quoted on that subject is Bush's former sister-in-law, Sharon Bush, who had a bitter divorce from the president's brother Neil.

Gethers said Sharon Bush provided "confirmation" but was not the initial source of the allegations. Sharon Bush said Wednesday, however, that she never gave Kelley information about allegations of past drug use by Bush. Doubleday responded by saying it "stands fully behind the accuracy of Ms. Kelley's reporting."

During the 2000 campaign, Bush repeatedly declined to address questions about possible past drug use, saying only that he had made "mistakes" when he was "young and irresponsible." He said he had not used illegal drugs since 1974 but refused to say whether he had tried them earlier. "Enough is enough when it comes to trying to dig up people's backgrounds in politics," Bush said in 1999.

During the same period, St. Martin's Press withdrew a book alleging Bush had been arrested on cocaine charges in 1972; the publisher acted after learning the author had spent time in prison in a car-bombing case.

The Mail story has triggered a wave of radio and Internet chatter about Kelley's book, from the online Drudge Report to Howard Stern's radio show. Doubleday, a unit of Random House, has ordered an initial printing of 750,000.,1,5717695.story
con·cept: New Bush biography causing stir