The New York Post yesterday published the first excerpts from an upcoming biography on President Obama by Edward Klein, “The Amateur.”
In the Post’s excerpt, Klein alleges that former President Clinton called President Obama an “amateur” and desperately tried to convince Hillary to resign as Secretary of State and challenge Obama in the Democratic primaries this year. (The Clintons swiftly and forcefully denied the claims.) The article was prominently featured on the Drudge Report.
Although you wouldn’t know it from reading the New York Post, the Drudge Report or other popular right-wing outlets, Klein is a discredited author with a history of presenting falsehoods as fact. Here’s what you need to know about Edward Klein:
1. Klein’s last book, which was self-published, suggests Obama was born on foreign soil and is a practicing Mulism. Klein’s 2010 work The Obama Identity: A Novel (Or Is It?), co-authored with a former Republican congressman, is a compendium of Obama conspiracy theories. He had to self-publish the book.
2. Klein promoted a shameful conspiracy theory that Bill Clinton raped Hillary. In his 2005 book, Klein promoted an anonymous, hateful allegation supposedly made by two people who “claim” to have spoken with Bill Clinton about the circumstances surrounding the birth of the Clintons’ daughter Chelsea.
3. Klein repeatedly questioned Hillary Clinton’s sexual orientation. He has similarly disparaged Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy and Katie Couric in previous works, leading the Washington Post to comment that Klein “has made a second career of leaving knuckle prints on famous women.”
4. Klein has a history of publishing demonstrably false allegations about Obama as fact. In a 2010 entry in The Huffington Post, Klein detailed President Obama’s “humiliation” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu, claiming that sources told him of Obama leaving during a meeting with Netenyahu to have dinner with Michelle and their two daughters. One phone call would have revealed that to be impossible, since Michelle, Sasha and Malia were all in New York City at the time.
5. Klein’s book is being published by Regnery, a far-right imprint specializing in the promotion of conservative talking points. He was rejected by every respectable publishing house. In an interview, Klein claimed his difficulty locating a publisher was because Barack Obama was an “untouchable” subject. Yet several other books on the same subject, like Jodi Kantor’s The Obamas, set off a bidding war between the major New York publishers.
6. Even conservative critics view Klein as disreputable. Kathleen Parker, writing for the Tribune’s network of newspapers, described Klein’s 2005 book as “prurient tabloiding,” while New York Post columnist John Podhoretz said it was “one of the most sordid volumes I’ve ever waded through.” Peggy Noonan’s Wall Street Journal review said it was “poorly written, poorly thought, poorly sourced and full of the kind of loaded language that is appropriate to a polemic but not an investigative work.”
The nation’s top book reviews have all panned Klein and his work. The Boston Globe called him “an author devoid of credibility,” the New York Times described him as “smarmy and sleazy,” the Los Angeles Times called his work “bio-porn,” and the Tucson Citizen referred to it as “the literary equivalent of a backed up-septic tank.” (It got a grade of “F”).
The Huffington Post is reporting that at least one quote from Ed Klein’s new book “The Amateur” appears to have been lifted from an article first published in 2009. Klein spoke with President Obama’s former physician for his book, but the quote that appears in print is nearly identical to one given by the same physician to the Huffington Post nearly three years ago.