Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Bill signs up to share Hillary's book hoopla



The Associated Press

NEW YORK - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was so mobbed at her book party that it seemed she'd never get around to signing all the books. Luckily, husband Bill was helping.

The former president, who until now has let his wife enjoy the spotlight as her memoir, Living History, sells like hot cakes, smiled and signed away, his own autograph on the volume apparently in as much demand as hers.

Publisher Simon & Schuster, which threw the latest Manhattan bash Monday, declared Living History to be the top-selling adult nonfiction book ever, based on first-week sales of 600,000 copies. An additional 500,000 copies have been ordered on top of an extraordinary initial printing of 1 million copies, the publisher said.

The party at the Four Seasons restaurant drew the elite in the worlds of television, publishing and politics to munch on foie gras and oysters on the half shell.

Among those on hand to sample the hors d'oeuvres: TV personalities Walter Cronkite, Barbara Walters and Charlie Rose; former White House aide and now TV host George Stephanopoulos; New York politicians Geraldine Ferraro, Andrew Stein and Mark Green; comedian and author Al Franken; actor Chevy Chase; and singer Judy Collins.

The former president introduced his wife with the observation that "it was interesting enough being married to a U.S. senator. It's even more interesting being married to a best-selling author.

"People keep asking to see my hands," he joked - a reference to his wife's praise of his hands in the book.

Sen. Clinton called the hoopla surrounding her book "a little overwhelming," but said it had been a remarkable experience. She thanked her mother; her daughter, Chelsea, who was off studying for exams at Oxford University in England; and finally her husband.

"I would not have lived the way I lived or become the person I've become without my husband," she said.

The senator also mused about the unusual questions that have come her way as she promotes the book - as in the foreign journalist who observed that she seemed a happy person and asked: "How do you account for this?"

"Well," she joked at the party, "it's a lot better than the alternative."




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