Campaign lovers plan kiss but no-tell book

January 13, 1993|By Newsday

New York -- Bill Clinton against George Bush was a "His" and "Hers" campaign for James Carville and Mary Matalin, the odd romantic couple of American politics. He was the top strategist for the victor; she was the deputy campaign manager for the president.

Now that the ballroom balloons have all burst and the two have finished a European vacation, they are pitching a hotly sought book about the election and the love that survived it.

In a blitz of meetings with New York publishers and editors late last week, Mr. Carville and Ms. Matalin proposed writing tales from inside their respective bunkers, leavened by recollections of their own relationship on the run. They showed the book people a proposed outline -- but not to keep, lest the dozen or so pages be leaked to the media.

Suitors include Random House, Bantam Books, HarperCollins, St. Martin's Press and others. Among Bantam's representatives was Beverly Lewis, the editor of H. Norman Schwarzkopf's best-selling "It Doesn't Take a Hero."

Just before Election Day, Ms. Matalin remarked their affection survived their political differences because "we never talk about politics."

"It was obvious that the two of them are just crazy about each other," one publishing house representative said. "They're building a house together, they plan to move in together and marriage was certainly implied." It's this romantic dimension to their unlikely story that quickens the publishers' chase.

"But the two of them are also crazy about the men they worked for," the representative added. Translation: Don't expect them to embarrass Mr. Bush or Mr. Clinton for the sake of book sales.

Various sources say the couple is seeking at least $500,000 for their manuscript -- and may already have been offered as much -- but will probably end up getting much more.

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