Senators on publishing spree create new library of Congress

Al Franken disses Ted Cruz in new book
Al Franken disses Ted Cruz in new book

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  • Five Senators have published books in the last five months
  • The US Senate website has a list of all the current Senators with published books out

Washington (CNN)If you are a politician and you don't write a book, are you even a true politician?

Short answer: Yes -- but you're in the minority of lawmakers who haven't penned a book either before, during or after holding office. In fact, there are so many current Senators who have written books that the US Senate's website keeps a list on its website.
In the last year, another wave of senators -- many of whom likely have loftier offices in mind -- have added book author to their resume. Here's a look at their latest offerings.

    Sen. Al Franken

    Book title: "Giant of the Senate"
    Release date: May 30
    The back story: This is not the Minnesota Democrat's first book. The "Saturday Night Live" alum has now written a total of seven books, dating back to his first book published in 1992 titled "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me! Affirmations by Stuart Smalley."
    His latest book is a memoir, following Franken's rise from comedian to elected official.
    What people are talking about: Franken has a whole chapter in the book -- called "Sophistry" -- dedicated to his fellow Sen. Ted Cruz (and their ongoing beef). A line from the chapter reads: "Here's the thing you have to understand about Ted Cruz: I like Ted Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I hate Ted Cruz." On "Anderson Cooper 360" on Tuesday, Franken said Cruz is like the "toxic guy in an office, the guy who microwaves fish."
    Cruz is not too pleased. In an interview with Politico, Cruz called Franken "obnoxious and insulting" for writing about him.
    An excerpt of the chapter circulated on Twitter ahead of the book's release.
    Franken has also been asked whether he's considering a 2020 run for the White House. He told Cooper while such talk is "flattering," he's only planning on seeking a third term in Senate.

    Sen. Mike Lee

    Book title: "Written Out of History: The Forgotten Founders Who Fought Big Government"
    Release Date: May 30
    The back story: As the title suggests, Lee's book delves deeper into the "forgotten founders," including Aaron Burr, Mercy Otis Warren and Canasatego.
    This is the Utah Republican's fourth book following the release of "Our Lost Constitution: The Willful Subversion of America's Founding Document" in 2015.
    What people are talking about: That "Hamilton" connection.
    In the book (of which Politico published an excerpt), Lee touches on how creative storytellers, including Lin-Manuel Miranda (behind the hit Broadway show "Hamilton") have "breathed life into stories we thought we knew." However, "even with their newfound fashionability, the founders remain widely misunderstood." Lee points out that some like former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton used Hamilton as a mascot, backing that with lyrics from the musical. But Lee writes Hamilton was "one of the most fervent advocates of a robust national government."
    "It's understandable why progressives would imagine Hamilton as their partisan, Big Government comrade," Lee writes. "But this understanding of Hamilton is based on a deeply distorted image of him. Call it the 'Hamilton Effect': Twisting history to suit one's ends, willfully ignoring and ultimately erasing it when it stands in your way."

    Sen. Ben Sasse

    Book title: "The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis -- and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance"
    Release Date: May 16
    The back story: Unlike most other books by politicians, Sasse's focus is not on himself, nor is it about politics. Instead, the Nebraska Republican gives readers advice on how to raise children well. As The Daily Beast put it: "There's no glossy photo of him on the cover staring meaningfully into the future, and no easy bromides inside."
    What people are talking about: In its first week, Sasse's book has ranked No. 4 on The New York Times' bestseller list. According to Nielsen Bookscan data, the senator's book is pretty popular, selling about 14,000 copies in its first few days.
    More recently, the lawmaker made headlines after live tweeting his daughter's piano recital using the buzzword of the week: "covfefe."
    "It's #PianoRecital night. Livetweeting likely, despite the constant negative press covfefe," the frequent critic of President Donald Trump tweeted, poking fun at the President's now-deleted tweet that caused a stir Wednesday after it was posted.

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren

    Book title: "This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class"
    Release Date: April 18
    The back story: Warren's 12th book, which made The New York Times' bestseller list, analyzes why the middle class in America is "under siege and how we can win the fight to save it."
    What people are talking about: There is heavy speculation that Warren has plans to run for president in 2020. However, in an interview with Chelsea Handler, she said she's focused on her role in Senate.
    "I'm not running for president, I am running for the Senate in 2018," she said.

    Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse

    Book title: "Captured: The Corporate Infiltration of American Democracy"
    Release Date: February 21
    The back story: This is the Rhode Island Democrat's second book. It digs into the influence corporate money has on American Politics. (Fun fact: It's apparently one of the books on Franken's night stand).
    What people are talking about: The book came out early in 2017, but now chatter around Whitehouse involves Russia. The lawmaker is the ranking member of a Senate judiciary subcommittee investigating Russia's role in the 2016 election.