PR PLAY OF THE WEEK: Hillary Clinton's image turns a new leaf

NEW YORK: Hillary Clinton's new memoir, Living History, had so much publicity surrounding it that one could practically hear the press (and the vast right-wing conspiracy) salivating for its contents - more specifically for the former first lady's take on her husband's infamous affair with Monica Lewinsky.

NEW YORK: Hillary Clinton's new memoir, Living History, had so much publicity surrounding it that one could practically hear the press (and the vast right-wing conspiracy) salivating for its contents - more specifically for the former first lady's take on her husband's infamous affair with Monica Lewinsky.

All those wondering whether the book would truly deliver any juicy tidbits got their answer last week when the AP obtained a preview copy of the book. As told by the AP, Clinton says she was informed of her husband's affair just two days before the ex-President's final admission testimony before the grand jury. She writes that she was furious, but decided to stay married to him and to support him as President. The book's disclosure and timing win Clinton PR Play of the Week as they reveal that she has somewhat sharpened her communications skills in recent years. The book's revelations are deft for several reasons. First, they help underscore her willingness to level with the public, even though that comes a bit late. It therefore takes away an often-used bludgeon from her political opponents. Most recently, Rick Lazio challenged her honesty during their 2000 battle for the New York Senate. Second, it serves as a stealthy explanation for the statements that she made on NBC's Today after allegations of an affair surfaced. Many still recall how she blamed the rumors on a "vast right-wing conspiracy." Now admitting that she was truly deceived makes her seem less like part of the cover-up and more like an unfortunate victim. Third, details like these sell books by the truckload. And finally, the disclosures appear to humanize her public image a bit. While many will not fully trust the book's admissions, they do seem to paint a portrait of a vulnerable being that has trudged her way through an ordeal to which many ordinary voters can relate. It's the kind of personae on top of which many pols might hope to one day build a Presidential campaign.

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