Seeking a new way to reach voters and to answer criticism that he has been vague on the issues, Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann on Wednesday unveiled a new campaign weapon: A book.
The self-published book, co-written by a consultant who spent about two months on the campaign trail with the former Pittsburgh Steelers star, is essentially a compilation of the campaign's position papers on issues from taxes to transportation.
With three months to go before the Nov. 7 election, Swann could use the help: He has trailed his opponent, incumbent Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, in both the polls and in raising campaign cash.
Table of contents
The 143-page paperback is laced with attacks on Rendell and football analogies to describe his leadership style.
And it colors in Swann's personal life, leading with a foreword by his wife, a brief biography and his argument for why it is natural for a political novice to run for governor.
"You might say that in the political affairs of our state the pocket has collapsed and our guys are scrambling," the book says. "That's when a good receiver knows how to get himself in the clear and 'come back to the ball.'"
The book, titled "A New Direction: My Plan for a Better Pennsylvania" _ similar to a slogan the Rendell administration has used, "Plan for a New Pennsylvania" _ will not be found in stores. Instead, Swann plans to distribute it on the campaign trail and sell it through his campaign Web site for $10.
Campaign officials estimated that a printing of 10,000 copies cost about $30,000 to produce, not including paying the consultant to write it.
Books have become a staple of modern campaigns, particularly for a politician trying to humanize himself or give a broader platform for his ideas, analysts say.
Some politicians, like Arizona Sen. John McCain, a presidential hopeful, have turned to autobiographies, while others concentrate on policy. Campaign books were still something of a novelty in 1992 when presidential candidate Bill Clinton published "Putting People First" to outline his agenda.
However, a candidate's book can also help an opponent by providing attack fodder, said Paul Begala, a Democratic political consultant who advised Clinton's campaign.
"If I were Ed Rendell, then I would want nothing more than for Lynn Swann to write a book and a take a position on each issue," Begala said.
A Rendell campaign spokesman said Wednesday evening that he had not yet read a copy, but promised a careful review.