Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime is a book by political journalists John Heilemann andMark Halperin about the 2008 United States presidential election. Released on January 11, 2010, it was also published in the United Kingdomunder the title Race of a Lifetime: How Obama Won the White House. The book is based on interviews with more than 300 people involved in the campaign. It discusses factors including Democratic Party presidential candidate John Edwards's extramarital affair, the relationship between Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and his vice presidential running mate Joe Biden, failure of Republican Party candidate Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign and Sarah Palin's vice presidential candidacy.
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Game Change included several new assertions about the 2008 campaign that had not previously been reported. Among them were the fact thatSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Chuck Schumer privately had urged Barack Obama to run for president in the fall of 2006, in hopes that it would energize the Democratic base and improve the party's chances of winning the presidency. The book also detailed an hour-long meeting between Hillary Rodham Clinton and pollster Mark Penn, during which Clinton accused Obama of "playing the race card" and importing people intoIowa to improve his chances at the caucus. The book also alleges that Hillary Clinton wanted to make a bigger issue out of Obama's drug use, but was dissuaded by certain members of her staff. Also during this meeting, she allegedly said, "I hate the choice that the country's faced with. I think it is a terrible choice for our nation."
Heilemann and Halperin wrote in Game Change that Clinton had considered entering the 2004 presidential race, and that polls indicated her odds were encouraging. She was encouraged to run by her husband, former-President Bill Clinton, but their daughter Chelsea Clinton advised her against it. Also in 2006, according to Game Change, advisers to Clinton worked on a strategy to deal with any public disclosure over an affair which some of Hillary Clinton's advisers had believed Bill Clinton was then carrying on. The book did not provide any further details, except that the affair was "a sustained romantic relationship".
Game Change also included reports about presidential candidate John Edwards's handling of his affair with filmmaker Rielle Hunter before it was made public. According to the book, Edwards angrily rejected requests by his advisers to distance himself from Hunter. The book also described in some depth, Sarah Palin's role in John McCain's campaign. In response to concerns that Palin was depressed and unresponsive to debate training, McCain reportedly suggested debate sessions for Palin be moved from Philadelphia to Sedona, Arizona, so Palin could be closer to her family. McCain aides reportedly were also concerned about Palin's failure to understand basic facts prior to her ABC News interviews with Charles Gibson, including why North Korea and South Korea are separate countries. She also allegedly believed Saddam Hussein was behind the September 11 attacks.