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.
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.
They call it a horse race, and in this election the candidates got out of the gate early. But it's still hard to tell them apart and make a choice. Mark Halperin, veteran reporter and political analyst, sizes up the White House hopefuls with intelligence, insight, and his trademark wit, offering engaging, in-depth examinations of the histories, qualifications, agendas, and personal beliefs of the major candidates—including Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson, as well as some "dark horse" contenders.
Among the features in this book:Issue-by-issue charts defining where each candidate stands on the war in Iraq, health care, taxes, the economy, and other significant points of debate.An assessment of each candidate's strengths and weaknesses.A hypothetical glimpse into the future of each candidate's potential presidency.Areas of possible controversy that could spark heated discussion and affect the outcome of the race.Personal facts and anecdotes about each candidate—including exclusive Q&As covering everything from their junk food weaknesses to their biggest superstitions.
“It’s one of the best books on politics of any kind I’ve read. For entertainment value, I put it up there with Catch 22.” —The Financial Times
“It transports you to a parallel universe in which everything in the National Enquirer is true….More interesting is what we learn about the candidates themselves: their frailties, egos and almost super-human stamina.” —The Financial Times
“I can’t put down this book!” —Stephen Colbert
Game Change is the New York Times bestselling story of the 2008 presidential election, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, two of the best political reporters in the country. In the spirit of Richard Ben Cramer’s What It Takes and Theodore H. White’s The Making of the President 1960, this classic campaign trail book tells the defining story of a new era in American politics, going deeper behind the scenes of the Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin campaigns than any other account of the historic 2008 election.