Gossipy insider's account of the presidential election of 2012, the sequel to Halperin and Heilemann's best-selling Game Change (2009). Time senior political analyst Halperin and New York national affairs editor Heilemann, who both serve as senior political analysts at MSNBC as well, are respected and connected in the media and political worlds and well-sourced at the upper reaches of the Democratic and Republican parties. Not surprisingly, their views are conventional and close to the center, their attention trained on politics as sport (or, as the title suggests, as a high-stakes poker game) and politicians as personalities. Their focus is always on the candidates with the most buzz among not just voters, but the Washington, D.C., cognoscenti. In the Republican primaries, then, former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman--a relatively moderate former governor of Utah whom the Obama administration picked for his knowledge of Chinese, to earn points for bipartisanship and possibly to take out of the running for 2012--warrants an entire chapter, though he made almost no impression at all outside of the Beltway. On the other hand, Ron Paul, who lasted until the Republican National Convention and arguably altered the ideology of the grass-roots Republican party more than any other candidate, including the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney, is dismissed for his "kookiness," which "made him more likely to end up on a park bench feeding stale bread to the squirrels than become the Republican nominee." Still, Halperin and Heilemann offer a highly entertaining, dishy read, full of astonishing revelations about the strengths and, most intriguingly, the foibles of the nation's political stars and egos, including unforgettable portraits of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in particular. "[W]e have tried," write the authors, "to render the narrative with an unrelenting focus on the candidates and those closest to them--with an eye toward the high human drama behind the curtain." Like crack for political junkies.
Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times:
"Those hungry for political news will read Double Down for the scooplets and insidery glimpses it serves up about the two campaigns, and the clues it offers about the positioning already going on among Republicans and Democrats for 2016 ... The book testifies to its authors’ energetic legwork and insider access ... creating a novelistic narrative that provides a you-are-there immediacy ... They succeed in taking readers interested in the backstabbing and backstage maneuvering of the 2012 campaign behind the curtains, providing a tactile ... sense of what it looked like from the inside."
Michael Kinsley, The New York Times Book Review:
“Chock-full of anecdotes, secret meetings, indiscreet remarks ... No one can compete [with Halperin and Heilemann]. That’s what it means to own the franchise. It’s a small club: these two guys and Bob Woodward. And with this book, they’ve earned their admission.”
“Sharp insights buttressed by startling indiscretions fill Double Down, a new account of Barack Obama’s win over his 2012 Republican rival, Mitt Romney. This gripping book—a sequel to Game Change, a bestseller about Mr. Obama’s 2008 path to the White House—cements the status of the authors as unrivalled chroniclers of campaign politics.”
“Many juicy disclosures ... [a] near-flawless narrative.”
Jeff Labrecque, Entertainment Weekly:
“Journalists Halperin and Heilemann don’t lack for access, delivering another down-and-dirty account of an election that plays out like high-stakes high school cafeteria politics…. Double Down looks less like a sequel to 2008 than a tantalizing prequel to 2016. I’m all-in.”
Peter Hamby, The Washington Post:
“Page-turning…. translat[es] insider politics for mass-market readers with behind-the-scenes reporting and Gonzo flair."
Joe Scarborough, MSNBC/Morning Joe:
“Done it before, and have done it again.”
“In many ways, an insight into America.”
Chris Matthews, MSNBC/Hardball:
“Great new book…. Great reportage.”
Barbara Walters, ABC-TV/The View:
“Authors of the bestselling book turned Emmy-winning HBO movie Game Change are telling all in their latest book ... It is terrific.”
“This is a great read.”
Ezra Klein, The Washington Post:
“Double Down... is a joyous romp through the seedy underbelly of presidential campaigning....It’s also a marvel of reporting. Any time three staff members met in a room to badmouth a colleague or a candidate admitted to a moment of stress or self-doubt, ... John Heilemann and Mark Halperin appear to have been sitting in the corner, scribbling notes."
Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC’s The Last Word:
"I love this book.”
Anderson Cooper, AC360:
“Really fascinating details.”
Andrew Ross Sorkin, CNBC's Squawk Box:
“Buzz book of the moment.”
Dylan Byers, Politico:
“In an era when the most minute details of a presidential campaign are chronicled in endless tweets and seemingly instant eBooks they have published an old-fashioned print product filled with new revelations.”
Howard Kurtz, Fox News:
“You’d think there were no revelations left from the 2012 campaign, but Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, the Game Change duo, strike again in their new book.”
“Fascinating new insights.”
"Sizzling... They've done it again."
Willie Geist, MSNBC/Morning Joe: