WASHINGTON (AP) – Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is polishing up her most famous phrase as she edges closer to a presidential run, writing in a new introduction to her book “It Takes a Village” that Sept. 11 and the Internet make her tome on child-rearing even more relevant today.

“The five years since 9/11 have reinforced one of my main points: How children are raised anywhere can impact our lives and our children’s futures,” Clinton writes in the introduction to the 10th anniversary edition of the book, which goes on sale Dec. 12. An early copy was obtained by the Associated Press.

The New York senator is the early frontrunner for the Democrats’ 2008 presidential nomination, and the new version of the book features a smiling Clinton surrounded by children. Clinton did not appear on the cover of the 1996 book.

In recent weeks, she lined up support among other New York officials for a presidential bid, leaving many convinced she has already decided to run but is waiting to make an official announcement.

In the new introduction, the senator acknowledges the book’s title provided plenty of comic opportunities for headline writers.

adding that her favorite was “It Takes a Village to Raise a Pig.”

Many conservatives scoffed that the book was little more than liberal claptrap, and Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn., even wrote a counter-book in 2005, “It Takes a Family.”

The introduction by Clinton argues that the core points she made as First Lady are if anything more important now that the Internet and electronic devices like MP3 players have such large roles in children’s lives.

“Today’s electronic village has certainly complicated the always difficult challenge of parenting and raising the next generation,” Clinton writes, noting that in 1996 few were on the Internet and cell phones “weighed as much as bricks.”

“Media saturates our kids’ lives as never before,” she warns, repeating concerns she has raised as a senator that violent video games may be harming children’s psychological development. As if the prove the point, the book now comes with its own Web site.

Clinton’s new introduction avoids taking many direct shots at Republicans, but she does decry the $3 trillion rise in federal debt over the past five years, arguing it amounts to a $28,000 “birth tax” on the “tiny shoulders” of each American child.

Since leaving the White House and entering the Senate, Clinton has used her sideline in book-writing to advance her politics and grow her bank account. She sold millions of copies of her 2003 memoirs “Living History,” which at the time boosted speculation she might run for president in 2004.

“It Takes a Village” has 700,000 copies in print and the audiobook, narrated by Clinton, won a Grammy in 1997 for best spoken word album. Continuing the arrangement with publisher Simon & Schuster, proceeds from the book will still go to charity.

To promote the new version, Clinton will appear at a bookstore in Manhattan’s Lincoln Center on Monday, Dec. 18, and two days later at a bookstore in New York’s Westchester County, where she lives with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. She will also make national television appearances that week on a morning show and a talk show promoting the book.

The book appearances will likely only amplify the interest in if and when she will formally declare a bid for president. Through 2006, she was considered the early favorite among Democrats, but now that the November election has past others are stepping forward to express interest and test the waters.

Sen. Barack Obama has begun reaching out to Democrats about a possible bid, and Iowa governor Tom Vilsack has launched an exploratory committee. Also in the mix are New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, 2004 nominee John Kerry, and former vice president Al Gore.

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On the Net: www.ittakesavillagebook.com

AP-ES-12-10-06 1525EST


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