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S&S asks political commentators to “refrain from commenting” on Obama novel

O: A Presidential Novel, forthcoming from Simon & Schuster, has generated a lot of buzz around the identity of its anonymous author “ perhaps too much buzz as far as the publisher is concerned.

According to The Cutline, both Joe Klein “ the once anonymous author of Primary Colours “ and NBC correspondent Chuck Todd were contacted by S&S publisher Jonathan Karp and asked to refrain from commenting on the identity of the author (though Klein has already denied writing the book). In an email, Karp wrote:

On January 25, we’ll be publishing a secret novel simply titled O, about President Obama’s campaign for re-election in 2012. The author of the novel wishes to remain anonymous. You may be asked to comment on whether or not you are the author. If so, it would be great if you refrained from commenting, in solidarity with the principle that a book should be judged on its content and not on the perceived ideology of its author.

The author, an individual with integrity and talent, is someone who has been in the room with Barack Obama and knows the political world intimately. In fact, you may know this person, or know of this person — if you are not in fact the author yourself.

Tellingly, his request coincides with the release of an excerpt on the book’s dedicated Web site, where visitors are encouraged to post comments under the heading Who Do You Think Wrote O