Teaser for Jason Heller's first novel, Taft 2012, revealed

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In advance of the January 17 release of Jason Heller's first novel, Taft 2012, Quirk Books has offered up a gorgeously constructed film teaser. A glimpse into the fictional candidacy of a long-dead William Howard Taft, resurrected and running in next year's actual presidential election, the preview features looming shadows and lots of ticker tape, along with a spot-on Taft look-a-like handpicked by the publisher and Heller himself. "They [Quirk Books] sent out a casting call in L.A., and all of these actors sent in video auditions," says Heller of the surprisingly detailed process for picking Taft. "I didn't realize I would be so involved with this part of the project."

The former Westword contributor was also asked to write a short script for the Taft 2012 teaser, and says a longer version is set to debut on Huffingtonpost.com sometime this week. Stepping into the historical figure's shoes didn't stop with the writing of the book -- Heller continues to blog, Tweet and update the novel's Facebook page as Taft, making for one of the more interesting presidential possibilities, fictional or not.

Too bad this candidate's not the real thing -- the throwback campaign ad has us itching to know how a 154 year-old Taft would take on Romney and Gingrich at this stage in the game. Here's how the plot is described on Amazon.com.

He is the perfect presidential candidate. Conservatives love his hard-hitting Republican résumé. Liberals love his peaceful, progressive practicality. The media can't get enough of his larger-than-life personality. And all the American people love that he's an honest, hard-working man who tells it like it is.

There's just one problem. He is William Howard Taft . . . and he was already president a hundred years ago. So what on earth is he doing alive and well and considering a running mate in 2012?

A most extraordinary satire, Jason Heller's debut novel follows the strange new life of a presidential Rip Van Winkle: a man who never even wanted the White House in the first place, yet finds himself hurtling toward it once more--this time, through the media-fueled madness of 21st-century America.

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