Revealed: Former McCain Aide is Anonymous Author of 'O: A Presidential Novel'

It was obvious from skimming 'O: A Presidential Novel,' written by "Anonymous" and published Tuesday after an intense publicity campaign, that its author was male, on the political center-right, and not a professional writer. The writing lacked the finesse of a pro, described women in vivid physical terms, and imagined for the president a disdain for liberal Democrats that echoed the way conservatives talk about liberals, rather than the way reporters or mainstream Democrats do.

Now Mark Halperin of Time magazine reveals that the author of the book, which was trashed by the New York Times' Michiko Kakutani as "trite, implausible and decidedly unfunny," is former McCain aide Mark Salter. Here are the clues that gave away the game:

--Simon and Schuster topper Jonathan Karp was Salter's editor on books he did with Senator McCain.

--Salter has been holed up in Maine since leaving his job in the Senate.

--The descriptions that Karp has given of the author matched Salter.

--Salter's non-denial denial was the closest to a confession of any suspect who was publicly asked.

--There is a story early in the book based on a real-life tale that would have been known only to a McCain campaign insider such as Salter.

Read the full post at Time.

Presented by

Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis. The only problem? He has to prove it works.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Politics

Just In