John Kerry Signs Deal For His Memoir

This was announced today in Publisher’s Weekly:

Former Secretary of State John Kerry will publish a memoir with Simon & Schuster. Jonathan Karp, president and publisher of the Simon & Schuster imprint, and Bob Bender, v-p and executive editor, who will edit the book, acquired world publishing rights in all formats from Robert B. Barnett of Williams & Connolly. No publication date has yet been set. The book will also be published by Simon & Schuster’s international companies in Australia, Canada, India, and the United Kingdom, and in audiobook by Simon & Schuster Audio.

Kerry was represented by Bob Barnett, the same Washington uber-lawyer who has negotiated book deals for the Obamas, George W. Bush, Karl Rove, Sarah Palin, and many other national political figures. In addition to his tenure as Obama’s Secretary of State, I assume the book will also cover his 2004 presidential run and his Senate career.

John Kerry Hasn’t Ruled Out Another Presidential Run

Buried in the final two paragraphs of this New York Times article about John Kerry’s new gig at Yale University is this little gem:

While Yale’s president, Peter Salovey, emphasized that the Kerry Initiative is “not a political platform — it’s a teaching platform,” Mr. Kerry, who is also writing his memoirs, has not ruled out a run for president in 2020.

“I haven’t been thinking about it or talking about it,” he said. “I haven’t ruled anything in or anything out.”

Keep in mind, for a time leading up to the 2008 cycle, Kerry left the door open for another possible run. That door closed in no small part because of his poorly chosen comments about troops being stuck in Iraq if they didn’t get an education, the subsequent controversy which neutralized him as a surrogate during the closing days of the 2006 midterms.  In addition to that, he discovered in early 2007 that the money just wasn’t there for him, particularly in a field that included Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Things may be different in 2019, depending on the field of candidates, the state of the country, the results of the 2018 midterms, and public opinion of the Trump administration as it prepares to defend its record and run for reelection. If he has to compete against someone like Elizabeth Warren for the nomination, it could be very difficult. On the other hand, he would also have to stand out and consolidate support from the  establishment wing of the party, in a field that could include Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Andrew Cuomo or John Hickenlooper.

One thing Kerry would have going for him in his second run is his experience as Obama’s secretary of state, which may give him ammunition to criticize the Trump administration on its handling of foreign affairs.

Howard Dean’s Iowa Scream Revisited

Howard Dean hasn’t said or tweeted much recently since announcing his candidacy for the DNC job, but this Esquire article from earlier in the year just came to my attention, which is well worth the read: an oral history of Howard Dean’s infamous speech and scream after the 2004 Iowa caucuses.

Full disclosure: I was working at CNN during Howard Dean’s presidential run, and one of my assignments at the time was working with then-CNN producer Kate Albright-Hanna, who is interviewed in the Esquire story. Every few days, she would send a package to her office at the Washington bureau (where she and I both worked) with raw tapes that she had filmed while traveling with the Dean campaign. I would have to log the material so she could review it and could start putting together a script for what would become the CNN Presents documentary “True Believers: Life Inside the Dean Campaign.” I think the final count was something like more than 150 tapes of raw footage that was shot for this project. (According to Kate’s producer’s notebook, it was more than 400 hours of footage shot over a course of six months.) I didn’t log them all, but as I recall I easily did close to 40 or 50 tapes by myself. As I recall, the final cut of the documentary was a very fast turnaround which had to be written, edited and approved for air between the New Hampshire primary on January 27 and Super Tuesday, which was on March 2.

Until I researched and wrote my own book years later, this was the biggest project I’d ever worked on in terms of length and quantity of source material. It was an exhausting and exhilarating experience for me very early on in my career, getting to see a presidential campaign from a perspective that was that close and that unvarnished. It wasn’t fun logging all those tapes, but the experience definitely helped to validate my career choice.