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Double Down: Game Change 2012 by Mark…
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Double Down: Game Change 2012 (2013)

by Mark Halperin, John Heilemann (Joint Author)

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I broke my rule in waiting for books to come out into paperback before buying them, but I could not resist here. The sequel to 'Game Change', or the story of the 2008 election unsurprisingly looks at the story of the 2012 election, from the Republican primary to the incumbent's term to the general election.

In some ways this book is not quite as good as the original, although I admit it may be my biases. The original benefited from being able to focus on a relatively narrow field of characters: Obama vs. the Clintons, John McCain and his eventual VP selection of Palin. Here the authors have to tackle the entire Republican field, which remained unsettled until late in the primary process, which might explain why some of the candidates (Bachmann, Cain, and even people like Santorum who seems very much like an afterthought) get the short end of the stick. I don't know if the authors chose not to focus on those who had little chance for those who did or if they couldn't get sources to talk (which I somewhat doubt and doesn't explain the focus on Jon Huntsman).

However, there are definitely places where it seems there are holes or a lack of information that was troubling. Marco Rubio was talked about pretty widely, but the rumors that the Romney campaign was never seriously considering him for the VP slot or had even asked for his vetting materials don't get much mention. Neither does Paul Ryan, who is the GOP VP nominee and yet doesn't make much of an impact once in the text he is selected. Romney's disastrous trip overseas doesn't really discuss what else went wrong besides what happened in London. Nor do the authors discuss that Romney had no concession speech ready once it became clear he wasn't going to win--the R campaign had not paid attention to all of the polls (just the ones that were good for them).

The Democrats' side is also different, since now Obama is the incumbent rather than a challenger in a wide-open field. It's interesting (and frustrating) to see how some of the campaign's mistakes (such as the Denver debate) were needlessly self-inflicted. I was also somewhat disappointed that there wasn't much discussion about the voter outreach or polling/data strategy the campaign used to get voters, but this is more of a book for gossip than political strategy.

I re-read GC every once in a while to compare and contrast where people are in the book vs. at the time I re-read GC, and it's fun to do the same here. People who played a big part in GC don't always do so here and vice versa. Romney is the nominee here and obviously dominates, but he disappeared once he withdrew in 2008. It's the flip with McCain, who gets mentions here and there in this book. The same with Palin. There is no "Where are they now" feature in the book, but as a mental exercise it's fun to do.

If you are a political junkie, or followed the election closely,or loved the first book, it's a good book. If you are a neophyte this isn't a good place to start but is a good book once you get familiar with the people and the groundwork. I would say someone would definitely benefit from supplementing this book with various other references. It's impossible to capture everything from an election in one book, and this book definitely assumes the reader has a certain level of knowledge.

I probably could have waited to buy it, but it was a good read (especially once we got rid of the Republican nominee wanna-bes) and I'll be buying the paperback for sure. ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
For all you political junkies, this is a detailed account of the 2012 US presidential election. It gives an insiders view of both camps, delving into complex strategies including preparation and postmortem of the debates. For the casual political observer, it can be a bit daunting at times, offering comprehensive coverage of the process. I found it interesting, recalling the events, especially the first debate in Denver (where Obama was soundly defeated), getting new insights into the strategies and thought processes. ( )
  jwood652 | Oct 21, 2015 |
For all you political junkies, this is a detailed account of the 2012 US presidential election. It gives an insiders view of both camps, delving into complex strategies including preparation and postmortem of the debates. For the casual political observer, it can be a bit daunting at times, offering comprehensive coverage of the process. I found it interesting, recalling the events, especially the first debate in Denver (where Obama was soundly defeated), getting new insights into the strategies and thought processes. ( )
  jwood652 | Oct 21, 2015 |
This will appeal to folks who like to analyze the X's and O's of politics. I feel that the authors leaked a bit of their personal biases at times when they described Obama and Clinton with over-the-top admiration (Full disclosure- I am politically conservative), but overall I think that the book was a fair and interesting retelling and analysis of the behind the scenes action leading up to the election of 2012.
*** By coincidence, I was reading this during Christie's "bridge troubles." From how he his described in the book, the bridge-cident isn't surprising. I am convinced that he will not be the 2016 nominee. ( )
  Scarchin | Jan 24, 2015 |
Readable and gossipy in parts - but won't tell you much new unless you spent 2011 and 2012 working Peace Corps with no access to internet or Twitter. ( )
  lincolnpan | Dec 31, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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Mark Halperinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Heilemann, JohnJoint Authormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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For Karen and my family - MEH
For Diana and my dad - JAH
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(Prologue) The debate was only a few minutes old, and Barack Obama was already tanking.
Barack Obama was back in Chicago and back on the campaign trail, two realms from which he had been absent for a while but which always felt like home.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The authors of the best-selling Game Change present an account of the 2012 presidential election that draws on hundreds of insider interviews to illuminate what the election meant to both parties, covering such topics as the dramatic Republican nomination fight, the rise and fall of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama's Election Day triumph.… (more)

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