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Publishers cool on the notion of George W. Bush memoir

Soon-to-be-ex American president George W. Bush is contemplating a memoir of his eight years spent screwing up the country in power, but publishers are not champing at the bit to take it on.

According to the Huffington Post, a president who is leaving office with an approval rating in the low 20s is not in the best position to be shopping a book, especially during a period of economic bedlam uncertainty.

“If I were advising President Bush, given how the public feels about him right now, I think patience would probably be something that I would encourage,” says Paul Bogaards, executive director of publicity for Alfred A. Knopf, which in 2004 released Bill Clinton’s million-selling My Life.

“Certainly the longer he waits, the better,” says Marji Ross, president and publisher of the conservative Regnery Publishing, which is more likely to take on anti-Obama books in the next few years than any praises of Bush.

Of course, Bush is not known for his patience, and he apparently fancies himself a latter-day Harry Truman, a president whose reputation upon leaving office was in tatters, but has subsequently been bolstered by history. Nevertheless, publishers are uncertain about the marketablilty of a book by such a reviled public figure, and at least one popular author has called the idea “resistable.”

Curtis Sittenfield, whose novel American Wife features a thinly veiled Laura Bush as the title character, says that a book by the first lady would have more traction than one by her husband:

“When I give readings, a disproportionate number of people who buy my book are middle-aged women who say, ‘My mother loves Laura Bush!’ So I suspect that I and a lot of 90-year-old ladies would line up for a Laura Bush memoir on the day of publication,” Sittenfeld says.

Then again, this might just be another case of people misunderestimating the beleaguered Dubya.