The Political Grapevine - August 6, 2001

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And now for some fresh pickings off Special Report's "Political Grapevine." 

Setting a new standard

Bill Clinton may set a new record in the publishing world. He's agreed to write his memoirs for the publishing house Alfred A. Knopf. The terms were not disclosed, but the advance is rumored to be more than $10 million. Mr. Clinton's publisher says the former president has lived an extraordinary life and has a great story to tell.

Hillary Clinton got an $8 million advance for her book. The highest ever for a nonfiction work went to Pope John Paul II, who received $8.5 million for his book in 1994. The Clinton book will be out in 2003. No title was announced, but we'd love to hear your suggestions here at Special Report. Write to

Not too early to talk 2004

Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts is fueling talk of his presidential aspirations with another trip to New Hampshire over the weekend. He campaigned for two local Democratic candidates and criticized President Bush, saying he has not lived up to his pledge to change the tone in Washington.

Kerry says it's not bipartisanship to "steal one or two votes from the Democratic side."  Kerry is running for reelection to the Senate next year and says it's too early to talk about a bid for the presidency, which some Democrats believe is all but certain.

Leaving the door open for a Senate run

And Roll Call is reporting that Republicans are quietly preparing for the possible retirement of Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina.  The five-term senator has raised very little campaign cash so far.  In fact, the least of any incumbent up for reelection next year.  Former Republican presidential candidate Elizabeth Dole says she would seriously consider running for Helms' seat if he should retire.

Still doing his civic duty

Meanwhile, former Green Party presidential nominee Ralph Nader is still out beating the drum.  He drew 7,500 people to a speech in Portland, Oregon this weekend.  Nader says the rally was more of a civic festival than a political appearance.  About 20 demonstrators protested outside, criticizing him for taking votes away from Al Gore in last year's election.   Nader responded that no candidate should be concerned about getting votes for his opponents.

And Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris is getting scrutinized by the state legislature for her spending on foreign relations.  The St. Petersburg Times reports state lawmakers created a special review committee to look into the more than $3 million Harris put aside for an international affairs office.

The state Senate wanted to move the money to the state's Economic Development Office.  The House did not, so the two agreed to simply investigate the matter.  The newspaper says in her first two years in office, Harris visited six countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, plus Canada and Australia.

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