JANE AUSTEN, ANSWER YOUR BEEPER

WHAT IF BILL CLINTON TURNED TO NOVELISTS TO WRITE HIS SPEECHES?

The President's speechwriters were dumbstruck by the Bob Dole that emerged at the Republican Convention. Here was a man who had never in his life successfully mated subject to verb rolling out sonorous subclauses! When the speechwriters realized that the brilliant acceptance speech had been crafted by novelist Mark Helprin, an actual writer of poetical prose, they began to search their brains for suitable ghostwriters for Clinton: Stephen King, perhaps, on welfare reform, Michael Crichton to explain the health system.

But the President needed something more presidential, something of enduring and classic value. It was a job, they realized, for the...

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