“Game Change” authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann are back with a sequel to their New York Times bestseller in "Double Down," a painstakingly researched account of the 2012 presidential election. “Double Down,” due to hit stands Tuesday, details the Obama campaign at great length, offering insight into behind-the-scenes decision-making in both parties.
Check out 12 of the best tidbits from previews of “Double Down” across the Web below.
Biden came dangerously close to being replaced with Hillary Clinton
The most shocking news from “Double Down” is that Joe Biden came dangerously close to leaving the Obama ticket. When President Barack Obama’s public opinion ratings dipped in 2011, his aides very seriously considered replacing the vice president with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Obama campaign went as far as polling focus groups for their thoughts on the switch.
Ultimately, however, research found that Obama’s chances were more or less the same with Biden or Clinton as a running mate, and Biden stayed aboard.
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"When the research came back near the end of the year, it suggested that adding Clinton to the ticket wouldn’t materially improve Obama’s odds," the book reads. "Biden had dodged a bullet he never saw coming — and never would know anything about, if the Obamans could keep a secret."
Obama and Bill Clinton don’t get along
Obama may have considered bringing Hillary Clinton along as a potential running mate, but that doesn’t mean he gets along with her family. The president can reportedly barely stand being in the presence of former President Bill Clinton for lengthy periods of time. The two rarely spent time together throughout Obama’s first term, but in 2011, Obama’s aides realized that he needed Clinton’s support leading up to the race.
In hopes of mending fences with his predecessor, Obama set out to play a round of golf with Clinton, but could not make it through all 18 holes before getting fed up and leaving. When an aide asked how the game went after he left the course at Andrews Air Force Base, Obama “grimaced and replied, ‘I like him … in doses.’”
Bill Clinton has a way with words
Clinton was so impressed with Obama’s number of lucky breaks in the election. After Mitt Romney’s infamous 47 percent video leaked, Clinton routinely told friends of Obama, “He’s luckier than a dog with two dicks.”
Considering Obama’s austere demeanor, it makes a lot of sense that these two don’t get along.
Clinton and Obama eventually made up
Despite Obama’s reluctance to spend much time with Clinton, “Double Down” notes that the former president eventually became an invaluable asset for the Obama campaign. They may not have hung out personally very often, but immediately after Romney delivered his concession call on election night, Obama’s first words to his campaign manager were, “Get Bill on the phone.”
Obama doesn’t care about his major donors
Obama is so disdainful of the campaign fundraising process that he reportedly could not even name his top five largest donors. “I just have no idea,” he told a staffer. After meeting with billionaire George Soros looking for campaign funding, Obama secretly stated that he would never speak to the financier again “if we don’t get anything out of him.”
Obama was mad that Biden publicly endorsed gay marriage
When Biden announced his support for same-sex marriage on “Meet the Press” in 2012, he reportedly did so without Obama’s authorization or knowledge. According to “Double Down,” Obama had conducted polls on the issue and planned to announce his support for same-sex marriage later in the year. “Double Down” also implies that Obama privately supported same-sex marriage since at least 2004, in spite of statements to the contrary, and was waiting for the proper time to announce his support.
Obama had to be coached on public speaking
Obama’s awkward delivery of answers in mock debates became a running joke for staffers throughout the campaign. Staffers would joke about Obama’s most awkward answers and stilted deliveries. Eventually, the team spent several days working well past midnight trying to coach Obama on speaking at the debates.
In the end, not too much had changed.
“Every day, … the team had put Obama in front of a video monitor. Every day they explained what he needed to do to improve. Every day he said, ‘I got it.’ But apart from momentary flashes of adequacy, nothing had changed,” the book reads.
Romney had ridiculous nicknames for potential running mates
Romney’s team dubbed the search for a running mate “Project Goldfish,” leading to a host of amusing nicknames for his potential No. 2s. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was dubbed “Pufferfish.” Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty went by “Lakefish.” Ohio Sen. Rob Portman earned “Fillet-O-Fish.” Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who was chosen, was called “Fishconsin.”
Romney mocked Chris Christie’s weight
Speaking of that “Pufferfish” nickname, Romney apparently did not choose Christie as a running mate in part because of his weight. Romney even routinely mocked Christie’s prodigious heft in front of his staff. In the end, Romney went with the fanatically in-shape Ryan.
"Romney marveled at Christie’s girth, his difficulties in making his way down the narrow aisle of the campaign bus," the book reads. "Watching a video of Christie without his suit jacket on, Romney cackled to his aides, 'Guys! Look at that!'"
Christie failed his vetting process
Another reason Christie (who is up for re-election next week) never made it as Romney’s running mate was that he apparently did not offer up enough information during the vetting process. He reportedly failed to comment on critical information involving a defamation lawsuit, Securities and Exchange Commission settlement, the names and documentation of his household staff or his medical history.
“The dossier on the Garden State governor’s background was littered with potential land mines,” the book reads.
In response, Christie’s camp claimed that he did, in fact, provide all of the information requested by Romney.
“I’ve worked hard for Governor Romney,” Christie told Romney’s campaign manager Matt Rhoades. “I like him. And I see that you guys, for whatever reason, are playing this game.”
Harry Reid’s source for the tax-evasion claim
In 2012, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., claimed that Romney did not pay taxes for 10 years, but he never revealed his source for the claim. “Double Down” reveals that Reid’s source was tycoon Jon Huntsman Sr., father of Romney’s Republican primary opponent Jon Huntsman Jr. (Reid, Romney and Huntsman are all Mormons, for whatever that's worth. Huntsman Jr. was governor of Utah.)
Michelle Obama loves “Morning Joe”
The first lady reportedly watches the MSNBC political talk show “religiously” while working out in the morning.