… and many other revelations from campaign 2008.
From the New York Times:
2008 Campaign, All Over Again in New Book
By JEFF ZELENY
Updated | 1:03 p.m. For a year now, the characters from the 2008 presidential race have been settling into their new lives. Barack Obama is in the Oval Office. Hillary Rodham Clinton is Secretary of State. John McCain is back in the Senate. And Sarah Palin is eyeing her future.
That, of course, is known. But a book to be released on Monday offers political enthusiasts an opportunity to relive the campaign. Fresh anecdotes, recounted conversations and behind-the-scenes recollections present a chatty account of some of the high –- and low –- points that shed more perspective on a political race for the ages.
The book, “Game Change,” by the political journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, is based on interviews with more than 200 people with inside knowledge of the campaign, including Mr. Obama at the White House in late June. But all sources were granted anonymity, and in most cases the authors provide no specific documentation for their account.
Here are some of the assertions most likely to stir up the political class:
* Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, urged Mr. Obama to run for president in the fall of 2006. Mr. Reid and other Democrats, including Senator Charles Schumer, quietly asked him to think about forming a candidacy to energize the Democratic base and improve the party’s chances of winning. Mr. Reid remained neutral. Mr. Schumer endorsed Mrs. Clinton. But on one occasion, they double-teamed Mr. Obama and pressed him to enter the race.
(Asked to respond, a spokesman for Mr. Schumer said the senator “had a high regard for President Obama, but he was a strong and devoted supporter of then-Senator Clinton from the day she announced her campaign to the day she withdrew.”)
* Mr. Reid said he believed the country would support a black presidential candidate, particularly Mr. Obama, whom he privately explained was “a light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”
(Mr. Reid on Saturday issued a statement of apology, saying: “I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words.” )
* Mrs. Clinton seriously weighed jumping into the 2004 presidential race at the 11th hour. Her pollster, Mark Penn, was working for Joseph Lieberman’s campaign at the time, but she hired him to poll voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. The results were encouraging and many of her advisers -– and her husband -– were supportive. A meeting at the Clinton home in Chappaqua found Chelsea Clinton to be among the few dissenters.
* In 2006, advisers to the Clintons tried to come up with a strategy to deal with any public disclosure of an affair that a trio of Mrs. Clinton’s closest advisers concluded the former president was conducting. The authors do not provide any evidence or offer specifics to back up the account, characterizing it as “a sustained romantic relationship.” A spokesman for Mr. Clinton declined to comment about the book or its conclusions.
* In the summer of 2008, after the primary with Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton vented her frustrations to Mr. Penn during an hourlong meeting in July. A transcript of the conversation -– the authors do not say how it was obtained –- finds Mrs. Clinton saying she was “convinced” the Obama campaign cheated in the Iowa caucuses by importing people to the state. She also said it was the Obama campaign’s strategy to play the race card.
“I hate the choice that the country’s faced with,” Mrs. Clinton says, according to a transcript of a conversation. “I think it is a terrible choice for our nation.” (A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton also declined to comment on the book.)
* Less than six weeks before Election Day, advisers to Ms. Palin alerted the McCain headquarters over concerns of Ms. Palin’s well-being. They said she was not eating properly, depressed and not participating in debate practices. Mr. McCain suggested moving the debate sessions from Philadelphia to Sedona, Ariz., and fly her family in from Alaska, to improve her outlook.
* In the days leading up to an interview with ABC News’ Charlie Gibson, aides were worried with Ms. Palin’s grasp of facts. She couldn’t explain why North and South Korea were separate nations and she did not know what the Federal Reserve did. She also said she believed Saddam Hussein attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
* Long before reports of John Edwards’s affair with Rielle Hunter, a filmmaker, began trickling out publicly through the National Enquirer and elsewhere, several of his advisers warned Mr. Edwards to distance himself from Ms. Hunter. He refused again and again, angrily dismissing one trusted aide who confronted him.
“Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime,” is published by Harper. Mr. Halperin is an analyst for Time magazine and Mr. Heilemann writes for New York magazine.