Beltway Lawyer Loves Books, Big Advances

THE KENNEDY AUCTION, which officially kicked off on Nov. 9, proceeded characteristically enough.

“We were told many months before we met with Kennedy that we were going to meet with Kennedy,” said a source from a major New York publishing house. “The presumption was that we were interested.”

Indeed, Mr. Barnett did not even need to send out a book proposal: He simply called the publishers he thought might be interested, and those who were took meetings with Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Barnett at the senator’s home in D.C. during September and October.

There, publishers were greeted by Mr. Barnett, Mr. Kennedy, his Portugese waterdogs and his butler, who served refreshments.

During these meetings, Mr. Barnett let the senator tell stories and discuss the book he wanted to write, speaking up only when the conversation turned to the mechanics of the auction.

“I prepare a memo for the client on these meetings,” Mr. Barnett said, when asked to describe his procedure. “How to approach them, what’s likely to come up, types of questions that might likely be asked, types of questions they might want to ask.”

The Rove meetings, at this point, are over, and houses have been instructed to submit offers by Thursday. Random House plans to put in a bid, according to Ms. Mercandetti, as does Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster that specializes in conservative books.

“I’m sure that will be a very lucrative deal for both of them,” said Anthony Ziccardi, deputy publisher of Pocket Books, which Threshold is a part of. “I think it’s going to be seven figures.”

Mr. Barnett, unsurprisingly, would not speculate on how much money he expected Mr. Rove to pull in for his memoirs. “He’s in great demand,” is all the lawyer would say.