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First Lady Got Help on Book, But White House Insists She Wrote It

January 12, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House acknowledged Thursday that first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton received considerable help from a Washington writer in researching and putting together her new book on raising children, ``It Takes a Village.″

But the first lady’s spokesman, Neal Lattimore, insisted that Mrs. Clinton authored the book herself and did not rely on a ghostwriter.

In a news release, the White House said Barbara Feinman, a writer who has helped research other books and teaches journalism at Georgetown University, had tape-recorded interviews with Mrs. Clinton, transcribed the tapes and helped organize the book.

The White House also said that Lisa Muscatine, Mrs. Clinton’s speechwriter, and Maggie Williams, the first lady’s chief of staff, assisted with the book.

But, ``Without any hesitation, without any doubt, Mrs. Clinton wrote this book,″ Lattimore told The Washington Post.

In her weekly newspaper column for the first week of January, Mrs. Clinton listed one of her New Year’s resolutions as, ``Having written a 320-page book in longhand over the last six months, I’m ready to join the ranks of the computer-competent.″

The book, published by Simon & Schuster, went on sale Wednesday, a day after NBC News reported that it was common knowledge that the work was ``primarily written by a ghostwriter, not Mrs. Clinton.″

Lattimore told the Post that Mrs. Clinton ``credits Barbara Feinman with getting her started on the book.

``Barbara Feinman produced notes from a series of conversations with Mrs. Clinton and did most of the initial research,″ Lattimore said. ``She was of great help to Mrs. Clinton in terms of organizing her thoughts and working through an initial draft. Barbara Feinman was hired by Simon and Schuster to assist Mrs. Clinton with the research, organization and drafting of the book.″

The Post said Simon & Schuster paid Feinman a reported $120,000 for her work on the book.

In the book, Mrs. Clinton credits ``a village″ with helping her get the book into print. Feinman, Muscatine and Williams are not mentioned by name.

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