7 telling passages from Double Down

News coverage of a new political tell-all book has been non-stop for the last 72 hours.  

Most of us have heard about the book by Game Changer authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann called Double Down which has tongues wagging and keyboards tapping all over the Beltway.  

The book details the 2012 election season and according to early reports, it’s bound to be as much of a success as Game Changer

The Week

Don’t wait until November 15 to read all 473 pages of Double Down, the 2012 installment of Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s campaign biography. Copies of the book are popping up in bookstores, and there’s been lot of TV coverage of the behind-the-scenes relationship between the Clintons and the Obamas. (Not really news, but plenty of color: they’re not each other’s best friends, but they’ve grown on each other.) Here are 8 other points of color, each of which illustrates a deeper political dynamic.

1. Far from being annoyed with Vice President Joe Biden, Obama developed a deep affection for him, prizing his intelligence, his loyalty and his truth-telling. When Biden returned to the White House after visiting his son Beau, who had been hospitalized for a neurological condition, Obama “came sprinting down the hall to the White House.” Biden would not tolerate any digs at Obama in his presence. He “uppraided” then Rep. Anthony Weiner for making such a comment, and did something similar with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At a lunch in 2011, Obama told Biden: “You know, I’m surprised. We became friends!” Biden’s reply: “You’re fucking surprised?”

2. The Obama White House was floored at the way Jon Huntsman Jr., then the ambassador to China, openly flirted with running for President. Chief of staff Richard Daley told him point blank: “This is a pretty shitty way to treat someone who gave you the opportunity of a lifetime. When he did decide to make a go of it, Huntsman was a surprisingly passive candidate, and, shocking his aides, said he would refuse to accept his father’s money to make it to the nomination.

3. Mitt Romney’s favorite substitute for the F-bomb: “blooming.” As in, “that blooming idiot.” And, where others would say “shit,” Romney would say “grunt.” He did not seem to mind when others cussed in his presence, especially Chris Christie, who had become a pretty regular confidante. When Newt Gingrich was on the ascendance, it was Christie who urged Romney to “kick the shit out of him.

4. Behind the scenes, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels watched the unfolding disaster of the Romney campaign, tried to get Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan to run for President at the last minute.

5. Romney’s vice presidential vetting team initially considered New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Gov. Chris Christie, Gov. Tom Pawlenty, Sen. Rob Portman, VA Gov Bob McDonald, IN Gov. Mitch Daniels, Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. John Cornyn. The final short list: Ryan, Christie, Pawlenty and Rubio. Ryan overcame his early hesitation that Romney was not a movement conservative and his wife’s fear about the arduous of the campaign. Ryan was particularly wary of top Romney aide Stuart Stevens, whom he saw as “indifferent” to the conservative moment.

6. The biggest worry for Romney’s veep vetters about Christie was not his health: it was about various financial dealings involving his family and friends. A 2010 DOJ investigation into Christie’s spending habits as a US Attorney. His time as a lobbyist for the securities industry. His brother’s dealings with the SEC, and more. Christie had contempt for Romney’s operation, which returned the feelings: Christie was a very hard surrogate to manage, insisting on very expensive charters and emoluments. Romney’s team did not think Christie’s operation was sufficiently cooperative with their vetting requests. Romney picked Ryan ten days before the choice was announced. “The Garden State governor’s record was littered with potential landmine.”

7. After the first presidential debate, President Obama confessed that “he was struggling.”

“You keep telling me I can’t spend too much time defending my record, and that I should talk about my plans, he said. But my plans aren’t anything like the plans I ran on in 2008. I had a universal health care plan then. Now I’ve got.. what? A manufacturing plan? What am I gonna do on education? And what am I gonna do on energy? There’s not much there. .. I can’t tell you that. Okay, I woke up today. I knew I needed to do better, and I’ll do better. I am wired in a different way than this event requires.”

Obama paused.

“I just don’t know if I can do this.”


Obama Team Insists It Never Considered Dropping Biden For Clinton

AP Photo / Evan Vucci

TPM LiveWire

Members of President Barack Obama’s team worked to push back against a juicy story that surfaced Thursday, insisting that Vice President Joe Biden was never seriously at risk of being shoved off the 2012 ticket and replaced by Hillary Clinton.

The detail, which will appear in the forthcoming book “Double Down” by Mark Halperin and John Heileman, was reported by the New York Times. Former White House chief of staff William Daley acknowledged that he signed off on research into the switch in late 2011, but said it was simply a case of Obama’s re-election team performing its “due dilligence.”

“I was vocal about looking into a whole bunch of things, and this was one of them,” Daley told the Times. “You have to remember, at that point the president was in awful shape, so we were like, ‘Holy Christ, what do we do?’”

Daley went even further on Friday, telling “CBS This Morning” that they never considered replacing Biden with the former secretary of state.

“Not for a moment,” Daley said, noting that there was research done on a number of different individuals and issues.

Former Obama adviser David Plouffe said on Twitter Thursday that the idea was never “entertained” by Obama or “most of us.”


Thursday Blog Round Up

Hannity Guest: ‘NAACP Has Become a Hate Group’

Romney: Black Leaders Offered Me Secret Support

Mark Halperin confuses reality for smear campaigns

Gallup: Confidence In Television News Falls To New Low

Dems: ‘Obamacare’ Will Thrive Like Social SecurityAnd Medicare

Palin, who played a key role in losing McCain the election, has ‘advice’ for Romney

Michele Bachmann accuses Clinton deputy chief of staff of being a Muslim conspirator

NAACP Reacts To Mitt Romney: ‘Patronizing,’ ‘Totally Disconnected,’ ‘A Serious Misjudgment’

House Republicans Spend 89 Hours Trying To Take Away Health Coverage From 30 Million Americans

Mary Matalin: It Would be Stupid Not to Hedge Against American Dollar in This ‘Obama Economy’

HBO’s ‘Game Change’ in 43 seconds

Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin from HBO's 'Game Change'

I think the following synopsis from HBO’s Game Change says it all…

The Raw Story

Perhaps, having lived through the 2008 election and, like many people, read Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s book Game Change less than a year later, you might feel that reliving the events of that election cycle a third time by watching the HBO film Game Change is a bit more than you can be prevailed upon to bear.

If so, then the clip below is just what you need. Comedian Joe Mande has been kind enough to watch Game Change for you and condense the whole business down into a tight, neat 43 seconds. Enjoy!

Watch the clip.


Politico’s: The week in one-liners: Blago, Palin, Wallace



The week’s top political quotes…

“I’m huggable and lovable.” — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie describing his soft side.

“By the way, this is a titanium spine,” — Rep. Michele Bachmann touting her toughness.

“Are you a flake?” — Fox News host Chris Wallace asking  Michele Bachmann a controversial question.

“I thought he was a kind of a dick yesterday.” — MSNBC senior political analyst Mark Halperin making a comment about President Obama that led to his suspension.

“My hands are shaking, my knees are weak. I can’t seem to stand on my own two feet.” — Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich quoting Elvis before being found guilty of corruption charges.

“I sure hope that no one breaks into my office this time.” — Former Sen. George McGovern discussing his law firm’s move into the Watergate.

“The last thing this race needs is another candidate who is meticulous about his hair.” — NBC’s Brian Williams denying rumors that he’s running for president.

“Bristol, what we say on the fishing boat stays on the fishing boat!” — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin telling her daughter to keep quiet about her 2012 plans in a text.

“I’m not going to make news on that today. Good try though.” — President Obama deflecting a question about same sex marriage laws.

Our Sadly Lowered Standards for Dickitude

Mother JonesKevin Drum has done it again.  His articles are humorous and smart.

Here’s his take on Mark Halperin’s faux pas on Morning Joe yesterday.  The piece was written yesterday, as well. 

Mother Jones 

Mark Halperin is one of my least-favorite political analysts, a reliably unimaginative weathervane of conventional wisdom. Today, on Morning Joe, he gave his considered opinion of Barack Obama’s press conference performance on Wednesday: “I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday.”

Halperin didn’t quite realize he was on the air when he said this, and when he did he immediately apologized and was later suspended by MSNBC. However, this is of zero interest to me. If Halperin thinks Obama is a dick, it’s fine with me if he says it publicly. In fact, I’d rather he say it publicly. A mild reproach from MSNBC management for offending the delicate sensibilities of Morning Joe viewers would have been sufficient apology.

Needless to say, what’s actually interesting here is that Halperin, in fact, thinks Obama is a dick for getting slightly combative yesterday. And this is interesting precisely because Halperin is an unimaginative weathervane of conventional wisdom. It presumably means that a fair-sized chunk of the DC press corps also thinks Obama was a bit of a dick yesterday.

If this is the case, all I can say is that the standards for dickitude have become alarmingly low in Washington, DC, these days. I mean, Republicans have spent several consecutive months holding the country hostage to their tea-party base, pretending to negotiate a budget deal when they obviously had no intention of ever agreeing to any kind of compromise, all but chortling publicly at their own cleverness, and dressing down Obama in front of the TV cameras at every opportunity. But after putting up with this for months, it’s Obama who’s a dick for finally pushing back a bit against these guys? Seriously?

Continue reading here…

MSNBC suspends Mark Halperin for Obama comments

You wanna know who the real “d**k” is in all of this?  Mark Halperin…

Morning Joe Blog

Statement from MSNBC:
Mark Halperin’s comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable.  We apologize to the President, The White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air.  Therefore, Mark will be suspended indefinitely from his role as an analyst.

Statement from Mark Halperin:
I completely agree with everything in MSNBC’s statement about my remark. I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate.

Again, I want to offer a heartfelt and profound apology to the President, to my MSNBC colleagues, and to the viewers. My remark was unacceptable, and I deeply regret it.

The video showing Halperin’s stupidity:

 A full eleven minute clip of the segment can be seen here…


News That’s Under The Radar – 6-2-2011

Last night Lawrence O’Donnell questioned Mark Halperin (Co-author of Game Change) about the possibility of Sarah Palin breaking FEC laws regarding Palin using here Sarah Pac money for family outings.  Halperin takes Palin’s side on the issue.

I’ve often wondered the same thing about categorizing Paul Ryan’s budget.

Why is the New York Post‘s Abby W. Schachter trying to concoct a story that is patently false?

If you were to tell a conservative friend that taxes are actually lower under Obama than they were under Reagan, he’d probably think you were nuts!

Rep. Anthony Weiner is not the only one with a “Twitter controversy”.  Time Magazine has a list of the ten most shocking Twitter controversies.

It appears the current GOP presidential candidates are not impressing conservative Americans.

The ACLU is not about to let  Florida Governor Rick Scott get away with his executive order for all state employees in executive branch positions to  submit to drug testing without a legal battle.

Once again, military contractors get away breaking the law and the courts are moving slowly on indicting these guys.

What’s a  “Death Ceiling“?

West Point to neighbors: It might get loud this summer.

Elizabeth Edwards Dies at 61

In the book Game Change by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, Elizabeth Edwards, wife of politician, John Edwards was portrayed in a less than flattering light.  In the book she came off as controlling and sometimes vicious in her pursuit to secure her husband’s campaign and hopefully his nomination to be the Democratic candidate for President of the United States in 2008.

I came away thinking to myself, “what a bitch!”  I drew that conclusion soley based on what I had read in the book and some other innuendo and gossip on the internet. 

How wrong I was…

Since then, I have watched her courageous fight against the cancer that ultimately claimed her life.  I watch her struggle through the embarrassment and humiliation of her husband, John Edwards’ love affair and subsequent “love child”.  I watched her go on national television to promote her bestselling  book and tell her story.  All of this occurred while fighting terminal breast cancer.

I had grown to respect and admire Mrs. Edwards.  The book, Game Change only spoke about one side of this amazing lady as someone else saw her.   Perhaps as I had grown to see the “other side” of Elizabeth Edwards, she too, may have grown in her way to remove herself from the character portrayed in that bestseller.

Mrs. Edwards is a study in courage and fortitude.  She will be missed by many and I’m one of those “many”.

Writechic says it in an nutshell:

She kept her head up and her dignity in tact as her body and then the love of her life betrayed her. All for the public’s view. I don’t envy her trials, but I admire her life and courage.

Huffington Post

 Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife of former Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards, has died, according to WRAL. She was 61.

The AP Reports:

Elizabeth Edwards, who closely advised her husband in two bids for the presidency and advocated for health care even as her marriage publicly crumbled, died Tuesday after a six-year struggle with cancer. She was 61.

She died at her North Carolina home surrounded by her three children, siblings, friends and her estranged husband, John, the family said.

“Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth’s presence but, she remains the heart of this family,” the family said in a statement. “We love her and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life. On behalf of Elizabeth we want to express our gratitude to the thousands of kindred spirits who moved and inspired her along the way. Your support and prayers touched our entire family.”

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, in the final days of her husband’s vice presidential campaign. The Democratic John Kerry-John Edwards ticket lost to incumbent President George W. Bush.

John Edwards launched a second bid for the White House in 2007, and the Edwardses decided to continue even after doctors told Elizabeth that her cancer had spread. He lost the nomination to Barack Obama.

Continue reading here…