‘Game Change,’ excerpts Part 2

Part 2 of excerpts from
Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime.

First post, Excerpts Part 1

On Barack Obama’s international travels (p. 55):

The Africa trip turned out to be a revelation for both Barack and Michelle. The last time he had been there was fourteen years ealier, with a pack on his back and not much more than a packet of cigarettes in his pocket. Now, from Chad to Ethiopia to Djibouti, and especially in his father’s Kenyan homeland, he was treated like a head of state–or Muhammad Ali in Zaire for the Rumble in the Jungle. In Nairobi, thousands lined the streets and stood on rooftops changing, “Obama biro, yawne yo!”– “Obama’s coming, clear the way!”

On Obama campaign member and beltway outsider, Steve Hildebrand (p. 57):

Among Democratic insiders and political reporters, Hildebrand was renowned. A grassroots-organizing savant with close ties to three foundational Democratic factions-women’s groups, gay activists, and labor-Hildebrand was yet another former [Tom] Daschle staffer, which was how he and [Pete] Rouse were friends. But his claim to fame was having helped deliver the Iowa caucuses for Al Gore in 2000. Goateed, tattooed, and openly gay, Hildebrand was the rare top-shelf national operative who lived outside the Beltway (and way outside, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota). Even rarer, he was passionate about issues and had a romantic streak about politics as wide and verdant as a Paris boulevard.

On Obama considering the pain of running for president (p. 59):

In Chicago, [Valerie] Jarrett threw Obama a book party at the home of her parents. It was pouring rain, and despite a tent in the backard and umbrella-toting underlings, many of the attendees got soaked, their shoes ruined by mud. Jarrett introduced Obama and spoke about Audacity‘s final chapter, in which he wrote about the stress that the demands of his career put on his marriage, the disruptions to his family life. As Jarrett went on, talking about the sacrifices his wife and girls were making, she saw that Obama was crying-to the point where he couldn’t manage to speak when it came his turn. Michelle walked over, put her arm around him, and began to cry as well.

Even Obama’s closest friends had never seen him choke up in public before. He’s not emoting about the past, Jarrett thought. He’s emoting about the future. About the fact the sacrifices he’s imposed on his family are only just beginning.

On Clinton being a front runner (p. 84):

But [Hillary] was happy prosecuting a front runner’s campaign. She liked being seen as formidable and imposing. She had no taste for softening her image or for pandering to the base. She appreciated that [Mark] Penn always had an eye on the general election, because she expected to end up there. Really, who was going to stop her? Edwards, true, was white, southern, and male, all qualities possessed by every Democratic president since Kennedy, but Clinton regarded him as a “total phony.”

From a Maureen Dowd column quoting music billionaire David Geffen (p. 87):

The column quoted him saying that Hillary would be unable to “bring the country together.” That her husband was “a reckless guy who gave his enemies a lot of ammunition to hurt him.” That the Clintons were “unwilling to stand for the things that they genuinely believe in. Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”

On Hillary Clinton’s overconfidence (p. 100):

How confident was Clinton? So extravagantly self-certain that she began to turn her attention to a question no rational candidate would have dared to contemplate this early: Who should be her running mate in the general election? She had already determined without a sliver of doubt that she was not going to choose Obama…

But Clinton was getting even further ahead of herself than that…Hillary asked [Roger] Altman to undertake a secret project on her behalf. She wanted him to start planning right away for her eventual transition to the White House, on the assumption that she would win the general election.

On the lie of “Saint Elizabeth” Edwards (p. 128):

She routinely unleashed profanity laced tirades on conference calls. “Why the f*** do you think I’d want to go sit outside a Wal-Mart and hand out leaflets? I want to talk to persuadable voters!” she snarled at the schedulers…

The people around them marveled at Elizabeth’s callousness-this from a woman whose family had multiple houses and a net worth in the tens of millions. (They marveled as well at the tight-lippedness of their operation, the loyalty to John that kept any of the stories about the other side of Elizabeth from seeing the light of day.) Yet no one called her out on her behavior, least of all her husband. When she demeaned him, he pretended not to notice; when people complained about her behavior, he brushed them off. His default reflex was to mollify her or avoid her. No one doubted that, as her condition improved, the increase in John’s travel had a lot to do with steering clear of his wife.

More to come…


Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.

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