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Game change : Obama and the Clintons, McCain…

Game change : Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the race of a… (2010)

by John Heilemann, Mark Halperin

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1,273None6,175 (3.97)67

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I read these out of order, but that doesn't really change the fact that these books are an excellent porthole into the personalities behind presidential elections. A good levelheaded counter to the sound bites that permeate campaigns such as this. ( )
  TJWilson | Mar 2, 2014 |
Ready for the reading in 2016 when Hillary tries again. A must read in four years,
  carterchristian1 | Feb 16, 2014 |
I really liked this book. This is the election that really got me interested in politics and how the whole process works, not only on a national level but at my own local level as well.

This is basically the story of the 2008 election. The book uses behind the scenes information from a bunch of sources to put together the bigger then life personalities running for president. It starts out with Obama and Clinton and their race through the primaries and switches to McCain around the halfway mark to tell his story and in the end smashes the stories together to relate the end of the election in November.

It is written in a very layman's, friendly way that means anyone will be able to follow along without being bogged down in insider political terms. ( )
  Sarah_Buckley | Jan 3, 2014 |
It's always interesting to read topical books several years after they've been written. This one, chronicling the 2008 Presidential campaign became famous for the HBO movie that was made based on the book. However, this book is much more than just the dysfunction of the McCain-Palin campaign. Starting in 2004 it tells of Barack Obama's rise to both fame & the Presidency as well as the divisive 2007-9 Democratic primary contests. and is fairly unsparing in its judgement of all the candidates in that election season.

Looking at the characters from the (albeit short) distance of 5 years, the reader can see the seeds of the events of 2010 - 2013 being sewn in that campaign. Today, Barack Obama seems to being felled by his own hubris, McCain has reverted to his original role as a maverick elder statesman, Hillary may be considering whether or not she's too old to make a run for the Oval Office in 2016, no one pays much attention to Sarah Palin, and Bill Clinton is till pretty much outside of anyone's control.

Full of juicy details, this is a great book for political junkies. ( )
  etxgardener | Nov 17, 2013 |
This book is in the tradition of Theodore White's great Making of a President series, which I devoured years ago as soon as they appeared, on the inside story of presidential campaigns. This one is just as good, high praise, indeed.

Another great example of how we are failed by the media and need to learn details a coujple of years after the fact. Fascinating details such as how many Senators were urging Obama to run. The field looked weak. Edwards was considered shallow, Gofre was not interested, no one else particularly strong around except Hillary and they were terrified because if she had gotten the nomination, all the increasingly common rumors of Bill's continued infidelities would surface. Not to mention her vote on the war. It was also clear that her campaign staff, while very loyal, was not as good as one would have liked.

Clearly, the Clinton campaign presumed to believe the nomination was theirs, and Hillary had even put together a transition staff already in October of 2007. The only thing, she believed standing in their way was Iowa, and they didn't expect to lose that state. Axelrod believed correctly that Mark Penn, Clinton's campaign manager, was locked into a strategy borrowed from the 1990 succesful campaign and wqould be unable to change even though times had changed drstically.

Iowa was a game changer: Obama slaughterd the opposition and Huckabee came out of nowhere to beat the other front-runners. Clinton had spent more than $23 million on Iowa, more than $500,00 per vote obtained. It was also becoming abundantly clear that two major factors were preventing Hillary from doing better: her dysfunctional campaign that she seemed unable to organize or control; and Bill, an out-of-control ex-president who could not bear the idea of being out of the limelight. Hillary had difficulty dealing with personnel issues and was reluctant to deal with problems directly (one wonders how that might have translated to her administration had she won.) In fact, when a staffer asked her to deal with Bill and control him, she wanted to delegate that to someone else, arguing she couldn't do it.

All of the candidates assiduously courted the Kennedy endorsement. They had long ties to the Clintons, but Edward Kennedy and his family were charmed by the similarities Obama had to their fallen icon JFK: the hope, the charisma, the intelligence, and wonderful speech-making. Bill Clinton, on one of his trips to the Kennedy compound to gain support, nailed his own -- and his wife's -- chances for success, by remarking during a discussion with Teddy refering to Obama's age, and perhaps totally losing any subconscious symbolism, that "just a few years ago, that boy would have been serving us the coffee." That remark totally offended Edward Kennedy.

Meanwhile, the McCain campaign was suffering from a candidate who wasn't that popular with the Repoublican base and who knew it. "Why would I want to be the leader of a party of such assholes," he said. His stance on amnesty for undocumented workers was anathema to the right, and he had difficulty mustering any kind of enthusiam for a protracted campaign especially after what the Bush folks had done to him in South Carolina in 2000. At one point during a debate prep session, McCain was asked to explain the difference between same-sex marriage and civil unions. Tired of everything, he shouted, "I don't give a fuck." The choice of Palin was a last ditch, unplanned, and very unprepared for attempt at revival. He worked to some extent, energizing the base. But it also lost support for McCain from moderate Republicans, many of them long-time supporters of McCain, who saw the move as a slap in the face. They viewed her as clearly unprepared to be president, and, as one large campaign donor and long-time supporter of McCain explained his switch to Obama simply by saying: "Palin." ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
added by Shortride | editLondon Review of Books, David Runciman (pay site) (Mar 25, 2010)
Game Change is gripping in its own, nonfiction, airport-thriller kind of way. Lightly presented and filled with glib generalizations and cheap shots, this is political reporting as melodramatic beach read... But readers wanting to know what really happened in the 2008 election and what it meant for the nation should look elsewhere.
added by Shortride | editPopmatters, Chris Barsanti (Feb 1, 2010)
Perhaps a warning label could be conjured for this type of format: "While pleasant and not injurious to your health, it may strain credibility receptors."
Heilemann and Halperin 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.
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.

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John Heilemannprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Halperin, Markmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Barack Obama jerked bolt upright in bed at three o'clock in the morning.
A version featuring Oprah was scuttled by Schmidt. ("Don't politicize Oprah. She's more powerful than you can comprehend, like Obi-Wan Kenobi.")
And on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, on September 13, Tina Fey debuted her withering, hilarious, uncanny caricature of Palin, mocking her interview with Gibson: "I can see Russia from my house!"
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061733636, Hardcover)

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.

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:30 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Two journalists offer the inside story of the 2008 race for the White House, explaining the reasons behind the rise of Barack Obama, the breakdown of Hilary Clinton's campaign, and McCain's choice of Sarah Palin for a running mate.

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