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.

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