Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime [NOOK Book]

Overview

"This shit would be really interesting if we weren't in the middle of it."—Barack Obama, September 2008

In 2008, the presidential election became blockbuster entertainment. Everyone was watching as the race for the White House unfolded like something from the realm of fiction. The meteoric rise and historic triumph of Barack Obama. The shocking fall of the House of Clinton—and the improbable resurrection of Hillary as Obama's partner and America's face to the world. The mercurial performance of John McCain and ...

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Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime

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Overview

"This shit would be really interesting if we weren't in the middle of it."—Barack Obama, September 2008

In 2008, the presidential election became blockbuster entertainment. Everyone was watching as the race for the White House unfolded like something from the realm of fiction. The meteoric rise and historic triumph of Barack Obama. The shocking fall of the House of Clinton—and the improbable resurrection of Hillary as Obama's partner and America's face to the world. The mercurial performance of John McCain and the mesmerizing emergence of Sarah Palin. But despite the wall-to-wall media coverage of this spellbinding drama, remarkably little of the real story behind the headlines has yet been told.

In Game Change, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, two of the country's leading political reporters, use their unrivaled access to pull back the curtain on the Obama, Clinton, McCain, and Palin campaigns. How did Obama convince himself that, despite the thinness of his résumé, he could somehow beat the odds to become the nation's first African American president? How did the tumultuous relationship between the Clintons shape—and warp—Hillary's supposedly unstoppable bid? What was behind her husband's furious outbursts and devastating political miscalculations? Why did McCain make the novice governor of Alaska his running mate? And was Palin merely painfully out of her depth—or troubled in more serious ways?

Game Change answers those questions and more, laying bare the secret history of the 2008 campaign. Heilemann and Halperin take us inside the Obama machine, where staffers referred to the candidate as "Black Jesus." They unearth the quiet conspiracy in the U.S. Senate to prod Obama into the race, driven in part by the fears of senior Democrats that Bill Clinton's personal life might cripple Hillary's presidential prospects. They expose the twisted tale of John Edwards's affair with Rielle Hunter, the truth behind the downfall of Rudy Giuliani, and the doubts of those responsible for vetting Palin about her readiness for the Republican ticket—along with the McCain campaign staff's worries about her fitness for office. And they reveal how, in an emotional late-night phone call, Obama succeeded in wooing Clinton, despite her staunch resistance, to become his secretary of state.

Based on hundreds of interviews with the people who lived the story, Game Change is a reportorial tour de force that reads like a fast-paced novel. Character driven and dialogue rich, replete with extravagantly detailed scenes, this is the occasionally shocking, often hilarious, ultimately definitive account of the campaign of a lifetime.

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Editorial Reviews

Michiko Kakutani
…a spicy smorgasbord of observations, revelations and allegations…Though this book focuses on personal matters, not policy concerns, and though some of what will be its most talked about passages fall into the realm of gossip and reflect the views of chatty and, in some cases, bitter, regretful or spin-conscious aides, the volume does leave the reader with a vivid, visceral sense of the campaign and a keen understanding of the paradoxes and contingencies of history.
—The New York Times
Jacob Heilbrunn
Heilemann, a columnist for New York magazine, and Halperin, the senior political analyst for Time, have conducted hundreds of interviews to provide the inside story of the 2008 campaign, longer on vignettes and backstage gossip than on analysis. But if their racy account provides little context for Obama's rise, it vividly shows how character flaws large and small caused his opponents to self-destruct. The narrative also reinforces the familiar argument that a presidential campaign provides one important test of a candidate's ability to govern.
—The New York Times Book Review
Alan Wolfe
…[Heilemann and Halperin] not only tell the story of the 2008 campaign in an engaging and readable way, they come up with some real reporting. Much of that reporting, it must be said, is of the gossipy sort, such as Harry Reid's by-now famous comment about black speech. Still, although I had some sense of the dimensions of the Palin disaster before reading this book, the authors' account of how she failed to prepare for her debate with Joe Biden is chilling…I doubt that any other book about the 2008 election will top this one in narrative drive.
—The Washington Post
Jacob Heilbrunn
“Heilemann and Halperin have conducted hundreds of interviews to provide the inside story of the 2008 campaign. . . . It vividly shows how character flaws large and small caused Obama’s opponents to self-destruct.”
The Associated Press
“The hottest book in the country.”
The Economist
“A thoroughly researched, well-paced and occasionally very amusing read. . . . The result is something that conveys the feel, or perhaps more accurately the smell, of one of recent history’s most thrilling elections, and it does so better than any of the other books already on the market.”
Tina Brown
“A smoking new book. . . . The real revelation in Game Change: Campaigns turn our politicians into lunatics.”
Stephen Colbert
“I can’t put down this book!”
Tim Rutten
“Compulsively readable. Once begun, you can’t put it down. . . . Deeply and knowledgeably reported and presented with all the cool sophistication one would expect from two accomplished political reporters.”
Kurt Andersen
“Riveting, definitive. . . . A great campaign book. . . . Halperin and Heilemann got insiders to cough up astonishing artifacts, including emails and recordings. . . . Game Change is really interesting, and puts you deep in the middle of it.”
Joe Scarborough
“The best presidential political book since What it Takes by Richard Ben Cramer and Teddy White’s books. These are the types of books that got me into politics.”
on Larry King Live - Soledad O'Brien
"An explosive new book. . . . An absolute page turner."
Don Imus
“You’ve got to read Game Change. . . . I read each and every word. . . . Game Change is a great book.”
Michiko Kakutani
“A fascinating account. . . . Heilemann and Halperin serve up a spicy smorgasbord of observations, revelations, and allegations. . . . Game Change leaves the reader with a vivid, visceral sense of the campaign and a keen understanding of the paradoxes and contingencies of history.”
Tina Jordan
“Riveting. . . . Its pages brim with scandalous tidbits. . . . This is a must-read for anyone interested in the cutthroat backroom hows and whys of a presidential campaign. . . . And it doesn’t hurt that Game Change reads more bodice-ripper than Beltway.”
Hendrik Hertzberg
“The authors of Game Change succeed in creating a plausible account of the emotional tumult of the 2008 campaign as it might have been—perhaps even was—experienced by the candidates, their spouses, and their staffs.”
Clive Crook
“An amazing piece of work. . . . One of the best books on politics of any kind I’ve read. For entertainment value, I put it up there with Catch 22. . . . An absolutely gripping read . . . they can write.”
Soledad O’Brien on Larry King Live
“An explosive new book. . . . An absolute page turner.”
A former top Clinton aide
“Everybody talked. Anybody that tells you they didn’t is lying to you.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061966200
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/23/2010
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 65,092
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

John Heilemann

John Heilemann, national political correspondent and columnist for New York, is an award-winning journalist and the author of Pride Before the Fall: The Trials of Bill Gates and the End of the Microsoft Era.

Mark Halperin is editor-at-large and senior political analyst for Time. He is also senior political analyst for MSNBC, the author of The Undecided Voter’s Guide to the Next President, and the co-author of The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008.

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Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Ch. 1 Her Time 13

Ch. 2 The Alternative 23

Ch. 3 The Ground Beneath Her Feet 39

Ch. 4 Getting to res 55

Ch. 5 The Inevitables 77

Ch. 6 Barack in a Box 103

Ch. 7 "They Looooove Me!" 123

Ch. 8 The Turning Point 145

Ch. 9 The Fun Part 159

Ch. 10 Two for the Price of One 177

Ch. 11 Fear and Loathing in the Lizard's Thicket 193

Ch. 12 Pulling Away and Falling Apart 217

Ch. 13 Obama Agonistes 233

Ch. 14 The Bitter End Game 251

Ch. 15 The Maverick and His Meltdown 271

Ch. 16 Running Unopposed 287

Ch. 17 Slipping Nooses, Slaying Demons 305

Ch. 18 Paris and Berlin 323

Ch. 19 The Mile-High Club 335

Ch. 20 Sarahcuda 353

Ch. 21 September Surprise 377

Ch. 22 Seconds in Command 395

Ch. 23 The Finish Line 417

Epilogue: Together at Last 429

Index 437

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 791 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(264)

4 Star

(218)

3 Star

(139)

2 Star

(88)

1 Star

(82)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 793 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2010

    Insightful, engaging book

    This book is a must for anyone interested in politics and the governance of the United States. The details that have been revealed in the press are dwarfed by the fine writing and detailed stories in the book. You will get to know the current leaders of the United States: fully human, flawed, and heroic in their own ways.

    45 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Unexpectedly Good Book - Sarah Palin, Bill Clinton, Obama - all new info

    I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book has tons of NEW info about the 2008 election. You'd think after this time that there's nothing more to say. But the Harry Reid is the least of it. There's lots of extra new material for 2008 election junkies like me.

    38 out of 41 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 16, 2010

    Enough Already

    Game Change is another chapter of our nation soap opera called As Our Nation Burns. It trashes both the Democratic and Republican Parties about the last Presidential election. Both parties are at war to the death and us citizens are held hostage. The media is no better with the likes of Matthews and Limbaugh flaming the fire. And always its books about politics with this included.

    19 out of 51 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2010

    Engrossing & true insight into the greatest election period of our time.

    This was an engrossing read. Full of inside info many of us, regardless of your political views, have been dying to hear. This is by far more informative & truthful compared to Sarah Palin's unbalananced & less than forthcoming "Going Rogue".
    Could not put it down...wish it could be made into a movie!

    19 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Needs an Ebook version!

    Kindle has an Ebook version. Sony Reader has an Ebook version. How is nook to stay competitive if national bestsellers and widely publicized books can't make it into the Ebook format?

    16 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    Editorial Mischief

    I really looked forward to this book. I saw the suthors on TV and felt they had written an objective book about the candidates and the election process. What a surprise! Once again, anytime you see someone selling something on radio &/or TV you must caution yourself that if they need to promote their wares it must be a bummer. Though interesting to read about the background of politics and in this case the 2008 election I kept coming back to the fact that it was not written with true objectivity towards all the candidates. Obvious, the authors were/are enthralled with President Obama. have disdain for the Clintons and laughed their way thru the McCain/Palin section. It appeared they received much more input from the Obama 'team' than from the Clinton or McCain/Palin[if any]sides. Net, American politics is not about sincerity but arrogance and the seeking of power. I have even less respect for our politicians after reading this book.

    13 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    Entertaining Narrative but Tinged with Biasness

    As a person who has run campaigns on the municipal, county, state and federal levels, I found the book to be quite entertaining and fascinating. If you are as old as me, you remember the late Teddy White's Making of the Presidency books filled with the behind the scenes strategy. Game Change is that type of book. If you are political junkie who wants to know not only what politicians are thinking but how they and their staffs daily react to the incredible stresses of a presidental campaign you will enjoy this read.

    These two authors appear to have a number of insides sources - on both sides of the political aisles - who provide the scuttlebut of the innerworkings of the campaigns from the primaries to the general election right up to the time President -elect Obama successfully lobbies to get Hillary Clinton to take the Secreatry of State position.

    The authors draw portraits of OBama as a cool, methodical politican who carefully thinks out everything before reacting. Clinton as a highly bright, aggresive poltician plagued by a campaign structure riddled with inside fighting and a campaign manager (Solis Doyle) who should not have been in this demanding position. And of course, Bill Clinton who at times was Hillary's best asset and at others her worst nightmare on the campaign trail.

    The books cogently highlights how the OBama campaign was much more advanced than the Clinton campaign on the core issues of campaigning: marketing, financing and field organizations. The OBama campaign also were light years ahead of the Clinton campaign in developing a strategy early on to capture delegates at state caucuses; a critcal plan that may have won Obama in the long run the nomination.

    Republicans: McCain comes of as a fighter who defies the odds during the primary only to see his maverick attitude and failing economy become his worst adversaries. Sarah Palin probably got the worst review in the book with the authors apparently relying on several McCain campaign sources not only questioning her work ethic, but at times the state of her mental health.

    If there are weaknesses in the book (the first one generic) they deal with the fact that relying on a number of sources for information, usually put those sources in a better light. It's called spin.

    The other weakness is that authors are clearly more attuned and more aligned with candidate O'Bama (and I am a Democrat). For example, near the end of the book they become more editorial in scope and criticize the McCain campaign for getting tough on the William Ayers situation. Yet they never fully explore the wrath or the fullisade of unfair and often scurrilous rumors leveled at Palin.

    However, these weaknesses aside, the book will give the readers a unique and thorough look into the dynamics - warts and all - of how we elected our newest President. For that reason the book is a must read.

    11 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Is this Yellow Journalism?

    I really appreciate the authors for taking us inside the campaign and exposing the plastic politicians. I just didn't want them to over do it. That is the worse opening quote for a book incorporating Barack Obama. Out of all the eloquent things he said during the campaign, they chose that line. Real classy. The many points about a political campaign are very poignant. This is dirty business. I hope that all will be more careful about who you put your trust in. Yes, I am talking about all politicians, Dem. Rep. Indep., etc.

    11 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 17, 2010

    I could not put this book down

    This book was fascinating, unbiased and well written. I suggest having a dictionary nearby for the 25 cent words. This book provided insight into the candidates that the public in general was unaware. It is an easy read and very informative.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    Where is the E-Book version, come on B&N maybe I should have purchased a Kindle?

    Fun book, would have preferred an ebook version.

    8 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Old information

    This book is about behind the scenes politics. It does nothing to help us indertsand how our political electorate works. it is a just soap opera of old politics, back stabbing in a chapter that ended with this election.

    7 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2010

    Extremely eye opening to things others wanted to keep behind closed doors

    American citizens have a right to know the truth about what goes on in these campaigns. Transparency is a key when we go to the voting box. If we had only known the truth prior to our last election, our country more than likely would not be in the crisis it is in today. As an Oboma/Biden voter I wish I had this information last year.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2010

    Elcetion Leftovers

    Talk about your opurtunistic garbage. This book is wall-to-wall worthless knowledge and 'behind the scenes' nonsense. It does much more damage to all mentioned in it than it was worth to write. This is the literary equivalent of an MTV reality show. It does absolutely nothing to further our understanding of how our political electorate works. The cover should be yellow instead of red so readers know for sure what kind of journalism they're in for. TRASH.

    7 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Most Important Book Written on the 2008 Election (Not for the partisan reader from either side of the isle.)

    Of all the books written on the politically charged election this may be the best (and most even-handed). Despite the noise that was made about out of context excerpts of this book, it is a look at both the Republican and Democratic campaigns that doesn't take the side of one party or candidate. The majority of the book is given over to the Democratic Primary race due to its drama between Edwards, Clinton and President Obama and the historical importance of the nomination of a woman or African-American as their presidential hopeful. While the book is great for those interested in politics and history, it will turn off most who think that one political party is superior to another.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2010

    A Thoroughly Enjoyable Read

    i really enjoyed this book--read it this weekend(it snowed?!)--but i couldn't put it down--yes it was somewhat like a soap opera but that was what i liked--i followed this last campaign totally--it was the race of the century--i remember the events as this book alludes to them--for me however what the book does is that the 'players' off the glossy stage and shows them warts and all--you see them with all their frustrations, doubts, angst and foibles--this was what made this book so enjoyable and fascinating--would recoment especially with a bowl of popcorn

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read

    Game Change shows how the Democratic and Republican are at war with each other. Americans can not benefit from such fighting and these types of old politics. I loved it.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Game Change Doesn't Change Anything

    I read this book with an open mind, eager to know what actually happened behind the scenes. As I read, I soon realized the view was skewed, instead of being unbiased, in favor of Obama. Certain telling phrases let me know that we had entered the realm of the authors' subjective take instead of the reporting of those who had been there.

    At first, I thought this might be because of the individual's campaign workers' own biases, but no...sadly, as you read toward the end, it becomes all too clear that the authors, not the participants, are indeed controlling the narrative.

    4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2010

    Game Change

    A fast read, thoroughly entertaining with dialogue that was completely believable..where fabricated by authors. Interesting insight into the players of the election. Some information about President Obama's campaign that I thought would have made it in as "challenges " to his run were suprisingly not there...
    Overall fair and well done

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2010

    Great Read!!

    I couldn't put this book down - it was so interesting!! From the way Hillary's and McCain's campaigns were run, to the weak vetting of Sarah Palin, to the rallying support behind Obama - it was very enlightening. It was a fantastic read!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    Land in the Middle of Behind the Scenes

    These political reporters have thrown light into the darkest corners of an epic political battle, leaving nothing to the imagination. Some of the passages are so daunting they must be read several times, as the story takes twists and turns of dramatic proportions. Game Change is must read not only for political junkies, but more importantly for all voters, who really should witness the behind-the-scene bare knuckles rarely displayed in a presidential political contest. This book brings into sharp focus the dramas that never see the light of day in major media outlets. Sadly, the authors proufoundly confirm the public's suspicion of extreme bias of major players in the news media. And the key characters -- the candidates and their families -- are unveiled and defined in all their strengths and weaknesses that ususally only come to light decades after they have left the world stage.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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