Magazine article The New Yorker

Hit Man

Magazine article The New Yorker

Hit Man

Article excerpt

Jerry Corsi, from New Jersey, picked up his phone in Room 2743 at the Hilton, on Sixth Avenue, last Wednesday afternoon, and said, "Oh, Lou, it's great to be back with you, Lou," as though he were talking to an old pal. He was speaking to Lou Dobbs--live, on the radio, where he is known as Dr. Jerome R. Corsi--and he was holding a copy of that morning's Times, which featured a front-page story about his new book, "The Obama Nation" (say it fast), which debuted at No. 1 on the paper's best-seller list. "Yes, the New York Times is not very fond of me today," Corsi told Dobbs, in a conspiratorial tone. Tim Bueler, Corsi's publicist and a former Mike Huckabee staffer, scrambled into the bathroom to field a cell-phone call from a CNN producer. The previous night, Corsi had appeared on Fox News. (Sean Hannity: "Do we know if he ever sold drugs?" Corsi: "I raise that question.")

Selling books can be tedious, but Corsi, who worked in the financial-services industry for nearly twenty-five years, seemed to bring actuarial relish to the routine, including among his talking points the number of pages (three hundred) and footnotes (six hundred and eighty) in "The Obama Nation." "I've written eight books in the last four years, and four of them have been New York Times best-sellers," he said. Corsi is a short, barrel-chested man with white hair and a pink face. He held a copy of the new release and turned to the page marked "Also by Jerome R. Corsi, PH.D." (Harvard, political science, 1972.) Using a black pen, he drew check marks next to two of the titles: "The Late Great U.S.A." and "Showdown with Nuclear Iran." These, he said, had been on the so-called extended list that you don't see printed in the Sunday Book Review. He wrote "#1" beside "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," which he co-authored with his friend John O'Neill, whom he met at an intercollegiate-debate competition in the nineteen-sixties. To his usual audience of red-meat conservatives, he believed, he had added a new readership in the form of angry Democrats "holding on to the hope that Hillary may at the last minute be the nominee," he said. "They're probably overlooking, or not focussing on, what I wrote in 2004."

Corsi is in some ways an unlikely scourge of the left. He lives in Morris County, where his wife runs a housecleaning service, and his father, to whom he dedicated "The Obama Nation," worked for the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen and was involved in Democratic politics. …

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