Karl Rove put his book project up for auction among the big publishing houses in New York in mid-November. According to Crain’s New York Business on Dec. 17, a month passed with no offers:
It would be comforting to think the marquee imprints refused to do business with Rove because he betrayed a secret government operation tracking the black market for terror weapons.
The auction for Karl Rove’s memoir drags on a month after the Republican strategist made the rounds of publishers with Washington power lawyer Robert Barnett at his side.
“It’s very, very slow,” says an executive at one of the few houses left in the bidding. Early reports had predicted a $3 million sale, but some insiders are wondering if Mr. Barnett has had trouble getting to that number. He declined to comment.
On Friday, a deal was finally announced, but there’s an interesting twist — the buyer is Rove’s former White House colleague, conservative strategist Mary Matalin:
GOP strategist Karl Rove has agreed to write about his years as an adviser to President Bush in a deal worth over $1.5 million with former colleague Mary Matalin’s conservative imprint at Simon & Schuster, officials said Friday.
Rove … signed the deal with Threshold Editions, the imprint’s publisher and executive vice president Louise Burke said.
“All of us at Threshold are thrilled to publish the book from the man who had the president’s ear for two terms,” Burke said.
Rove’s agent, attorney Robert Barnett, said Threshold was chosen over eight other bidding publishers. Threshold didn’t say how much Rove would be paid, but the bidding reached at least $1.5 million, two publishing officials familiar with the bidding told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, a standard industry practice.
On Nov. 21, not long after the auction had begun, Rove went on Charlie Rose’s show to promote the book, and made this outrageous claim:
ROVE: One of the untold stories about the war is why did the United States Congress, the United States Senate vote on the war resolution in the fall of 2002?
CHARLIE ROSE, HOST: Why?
ROVE: This administration was opposed to it. Iâ€˜m going to talk about that in my book … The administration was opposed to voting on it in the fall of 2002 … [because] we didnâ€˜t think it belonged within the confines of the election. There was an election coming up in a matter of weeks. We thought it made it too political. We wanted it outside the confines of it. It seemed to make things move too fast. There were things that needed to be done to bring along allies and potential allies abroad.
It would be comforting to think that this ham-fisted, too easily refuted lie depressed the auction price of the book — or even better that book publishers refused to do business with a traitor who betrayed a secret CIA operation in 2003 that monitored the terror weapons black market.
It’s more likely the marquee publishing houses passed because sales projections looked weak — which gives reason for hope, too.