by W. Kim Heron
• For Sen. Harry Reid’s comments about then-presidential hopeful Barack Obama as electable because he’s “light-skinned” with “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one” — prompting a Reid apology this week.
• For its portrayal of John and Elizabeth Edwards that’s far at odds with his public image at the time (some advisers saw in him “a burgeoning megalomania”) and hers now (insiders supposedly saw her as an "abusive, intrusive, paranoid, condescending, crazywoman"). As to the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter affair, the book also claims the “dysfunctional” power couple even fought about the issue in front of staffers.
• For recounting a meeting between Bill Clinton and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy in which Clinton allegedly said of Obama: "A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee."
• For its contention that Sen. Hillary Clinton’s staff set up a secret “war room within a war room” to deal with potential allegations that Bill was philandering, and that the group had concluded he was in "a sustained romantic relationship" with someone other than Hillary.
Our search of the book online hasn’t found enormous news involving Michigan politicos, but a few tidbits we’ll pass along.
Former U.S. Rep. David Bonior is depicted as coming into the Edwards camp just at the point where, following her cancer flare-up, Elizabeth Edwards was shifting the power arrangement with John in the campaign: she was becoming more powerful, he, more deferential.
Former Congressman David Bonior, the campaign’s new manager, had no experience running a presidential operation and struck much of the staff as an extremely nice but very clueless guy. Elizabeth seemed to love having Bonior nominally in charge, because it meant that, in effect, she was in charge. On everything from hiring to advertising, her influence was singular.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jennifer Granholm — who the book somehow fails to note is a former thespian — is given high marks for her role as a stand-in for Sarah Palin to prep Joe Biden for their impending vice-presidential debate. Granholm devoured YouTube videos of Palin’s past Alaska debates.
“The result was perfect Palin: charming, folksy, disciplined — and mean,” write the authors. And she was particularly good at goading Biden so that “he turned scornful and chauvinistic.” (If only she could study up on the role of decisive leader for Michigan.)
We’ll also note that the book by journalists John Heilemann (New York magazine) and Mark Halperin (Time) has been described as dishy and gossipy as well as an important look at the machinations of the 2008 campaign. Although the book is said to be the result of hundreds of interviews, in our scanning of excerpts, we’re seeing, as others have noted, a paucity of named sources and specific attribution.