Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.

With Senate elections 17 months away, and the next presidential race in 2008, organized attacks are being launched against Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who is widely thought to be a leading candidate for the presidency.

The head of New York’s Republican Party has commenced a national “STOP HILLARY NOW!” campaign, claiming Mrs. Clinton is seeking the Oval Office on a path “paved with her lies and distortion.”

“This is not merely a race for New York,” said a fund-raising appeal sent out by Stephen Minarik, according to the Associated Press. “It’s a race for America.”

“Stopping Hillary Rodham Clinton is the most important thing you and I can do as Republicans in the next two years,” Minarik wrote. “You could say it’s our duty as Republicans.”

His letter notes the creation of a “truth squad” to “monitor Hillary’s appearances and expose her lies.”

Ann Lewis, a spokeswoman for the senator, told AP Mrs. Clinton campaign’s was “not surprised that the Republican Party has chosen to wage a personally negative campaign. They don’t want to talk about Hillary’s record of working for New Yorkers, throughout the state and in the Senate.”

“Hillary is looking forward to campaigning for re-election by talking with New Yorkers about the issues that concern them; discussing her record and her agenda for New York,” Lewis added.

Meanwhile, a new book in the works by author Ed Klein is said to contain information which could damage the former first lady’s possible aspirations.

“The revelations in it should sink her candidacy,” a source close to Klein told the Drudge Report.

“The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President” is slated for release in September.

According to Drudge, the coming sales pitch for the book reads: “Just as the Swift Boat veterans convinced millions of voters that John Kerry lacked the character to be president, Klein’s book will influence everyone who is sizing up the character of Hillary Clinton …

“Despite more than a dozen years in the national spotlight and more than a dozen unauthorized books about her, she has managed to keep many secrets from the public — especially about her turbulent marriage and its impact on her career. There have been plenty of rumors about what Hillary and Bill Clinton did behind closed doors, but never a definitive book that exposes the truth. Best-selling author Edward Klein draws on rare access to inside sources to reveal what Hillary knew and when she knew it during her years as first lady. Klein’s book, embargoed until publication, will break news about the choices and calculations she has made over the years.”

But a dispute is said to have broken out among editors with publisher Penguin Books, the same editors who last year published John Kerry’s official campaign book. Some are said to be “bitter and hostile” about the forthcoming expos?.

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