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

Author: Heilemann, John

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"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.


Publisher Harpercollins
Mfg Part# 9780061733635
SKU 211424557
Format Hardcover
ISBN10 0061733636
Release Date 1/11/2010
Dimensions (in Inches) 9.25H x 6.25L x 1.5T
"[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."
"Heilemann...and Halperin...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 authors] 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..."
"What makes [Heilemann and Halperin's] book different from others, and such a riveting read, is the depth of their material--some of it obtained the old-fashioned way, through dogged investigative reporting, and some of it courtesy of their innumerable sources....But don't be fooled: This is no dry history. In places it's less like a campaign memoir than a Jackie Collins novel, packed with seamy details about extramarital sex and screaming arguments."
"One might feel like taking a good long shower after reading GAME CHANGE. Filled with profanity-laced tirades..., accounts of sleazy extramarital infidelity... and descriptions of Sarah Palin's obsession with high-priced clothes..., the book by political reporters John Heilemann and Mark Halperin is nonetheless a very entertaining and fast-paced look at the inner workings of the 2008 campaign."
From the Publisher
Annotation In what should be the definitive history of a definitive American election, political reporters John Heilemann and Mark Halperin provide an in-depth analysis of the extraordinary campaign for the White House in 2008. Heilemann and Halperin had unprecedented access to the candidates, including Barack Obama, John McCain, and Hillary Clinton, as well as their advisors, and they reveal that there was an unbelievable amount of backstabbing and backstage shenanigans going on behind the handshakes, banners and baby-kissing. From the Clinton-Obama feud to the stunning selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate to Obama's landmark triumph in November, Heilemann and Halperin dissect the details and strategy behind every twist and turn of the election.
Editors Note Two journalists offer the gripping 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, McCain's choice of Sarah Palin for a running mate and Palin's widespread, yet polarizing, appeal. 150,000 first printing.
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