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Political Book Club: 'O' Mo


Mark Salter won't say whether he's cashing the royalty checks for O.(MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Sales for the quasi-fictitious, maybe-anonymous O: A Presidential Novel have picked up a bit during its first week in bookstores. The book, which came out on Tuesday and describes the reelection campaign of a president very similar to the one currently in the White House, sat at No. 544 on's best-selling books list as of Friday. The week before its release, presales had it at No. 954.

The book was released anonymously; the only clue to its writer was that he or she has been "in the room" with President Obama. Beltway insiders spent the past week guessing at its author. Time reported on Thursday that the book was written by Mark Salter, a former senior adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.


Still, the fictional O hasn't matched the real one: Obama's children's book, Of Thee I Sing,continues to sell well. It was at No. 181 on the best-seller list. Among politicians' books, Obama's ranked second on Amazon's list. Former President George W. Bush's memoir, Decision Points, was holding steady at No. 41.

Sarah Palin may be feeling the same way about her book sales as she does about Obama's State of the Union address: America by Heartslid to No. 1,438. Palin pointed outon Wednesday that the acronym for the theme of Obama's speech, "Winning the Future," is "WTF" and called it "spot-on."

Still, other possible Republican presidential candidates may envy her sales. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's Valley Forge, which has been on sale for months, sat at No. 4,029. Gingrich coauthored a Los Angeles Times op-edwith former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Thursday about allowing states to declare bankruptcy, and he has been active in early-primary states. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's Courage to Stand, in its third week on the list, dropped to No. 6,234 despite Pawlenty's national tour to promote the book. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's Leadership and Crisis fell to No. 14,369.


O might not be burning up the charts, but the author, whomever she or he is, is doing better than many would-be presidents.

National Journal is reading these books so you don't have to. Check out these and other books at our Political Book Club.

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