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IF ONLY HILLARY HAD DONE VOGUE...: Speaking of Vogue, the magazine's contributing editor Julia Reed has long been its go-to writer for political coverage — "I did Barbara Bush. She was not into it, let me just say. André [Leon Talley] and I had a hard time styling her up" — but as she recalled in a recent interview, Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential bid was perhaps her toughest assignment yet. Reed, whose memoir of New Orleans, "The House on First Street," was published this week, interviewed Clinton for Vogue several times in past years, including a cover story. "Bill Clinton himself told me that that's his favorite picture of her, one of the Annie [Leibovitz] shots that were in Vogue," Reed said. But as the world (or anyone who reads Anna Wintour's editor's letters) now knows, Vogue's access to Clinton was cut off, either because it was deemed too feminine or too elitist. It was Reed who'd borne the burden: months of convincing Clinton's aides and more months on the campaign trail. "Let me just say, it's not the most fun thing in the world to have breakfast a million times with [communications director] Howard Wolfson," she said. "The man is the most charmless human being on the planet, and I'm sitting there sucking up to him."
The original deal, she said, included an interview with Clinton and a Leibovitz photo shoot for the December 2007 issue at the Clintons' Chappaqua, N.Y., home. After thinking everything was set, Reed months later was informed the deal was off. She said she was told, "We already have the women's vote in the bag," and that Wolfson said, '"We thought we were going to be in a bigger dogfight. We don't need you anymore.' This was right before Iowa. What an idiot!"