Klobuchar writes a memoir – does it signal presidential aspirations?


U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is busy making the media rounds to promote her new autobiography, which comes out Tuesday. As she does so, political wonks are busy trying to figure out whether she's signaling her interest in running for the White House someday.

Klobuchar's book, "The Senator Next Door," recounts her middle-class upbringing in suburban Minneapolis, her rise in politics and her experiences as one of the few women to serve in the U.S. Senate.

She's done interviews with various regional and national media in the past several days to promote the book, including CBS News, WNYC in New York, and MSNBC. But when she's been asked about her political aspirations, Klobuchar is coy.

“This book is called ‘The Senator Next Door,'” she said on CBS Monday morning. “And I like my job now.”

Klobuchar gave a bit more specific answer in the lengthy profile of her that was published in the Star Tribune Monday.

“When someone talks to you about [running for president], you have to think about it in your mind, and I have," she said. "But the reason I wrote this book had nothing to do with that."

Klobuchar was elected to the Senate in 2006 and won re-election in 2012.

She's gained a reputation Washington as a moderate Democrat who is not afraid to cross party lines to get bills passed. And that theme runs through her book.

The publicity blurb puts it this way:

 "The Senator Next Door is a story about how the girl next door decided to enter the fray and make a difference. At a moment when America's government often seems incapable of getting anything done, Amy Klobuchar proves that politics is still the art of the possible."

Klobuchar's approval ratings in Minnesota are very high, in part because of her moderate approach. But as the Star Tribune notes, some Democrats think the subjects she champions are too safe, and they want her to be more vocal on major national issues such as income inequality and environmental protection.

Will she or won't she?

The decision to write a book is almost an expectation now for any politician who aspires to run for the White House, as MPR News blogger Bob Collins notes.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker did it; former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty wrote one, too, before he ran for president in 2012.

“People usually publish books for one of a few reasons,” Pawlenty said to the Star Tribune. “They want to send a message, or tell an important story, they want to supplement their income … or it’s often viewed as a prerequisite to run for higher office.”

Collins also notes that Klobuchar hasn't really answered the question, which is a good way to keep the speculation going.

"The Senator Next Door" goes on sale Tuesday, Aug. 25. Klobuchar will kick off a two-week book tour with an event Tuesday at 7 p.m. at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis.

Here's Klobuchar's interview with CBS News:

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