"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.