s we settle into the second year of the Obama presidency, a new book about the 2008 presidential election, "Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime," by Time's Mark Halperin and New York magazine's John Heilmann, has Washington, D.C. abuzz with scandalous revelations. Here are five of the volume's most notable details:
1. Palin's mental meltdown
The stresses of the campaign may have been too much for Sarah Palin, causing her to have "wild mood swings" and, occasionally, to completely "shut down." At times, "Palin would be her perky self; the next she would fall into a strange blue funk," the authors write. "When her aides tried to quiz her, she would routinely shut down — chin on her chest...speechless and motionless, lost in what those around her described as a kind of catatonic stupor." The book also reveals that Palin second-guessed her decision to run: "If I had known everything I know now, I would not have done this," Palin is quoted as saying. Palin's spokeswoman Meg Stapleton dismisses the anecdotes as "inaccurate gossip."
2. Harry Reid's "racist" remark
"Game Change" reveals that, during the 2008 primaries, Reid (who's been dogged by controversial, race-related comments) privately referred to candidate Barack Obama as a "light-skinned" African American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." Though this revelation has provoked Republicans to call for the Senate Majority Leader's resignation, Reid has already apologized to President Obama for the remark, and reportedly had his mea culpa accepted "without question."
3. Bill Clinton's gaffes
"Game Change" divulges a variety of potentially damning scoops about the Clinton camp. Of Barack Obama, Clinton reportedly remarked to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, "A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee." The book's authors also assert that Hillary Clinton's campaign created a "war room within a...war room" in 2006 to deal with "a serious extramarital affair" on her husband's part. After accepting the position of secretary of state in the new cabinet, Clinton reportedly gave President Obama a heads-up: "I can't control [Bill], and, at some point, he'll be a problem."
4. Edwards' embarrassments
The book shines a relatively negative light on John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, who campaign insiders describe as an "abusive, intrusive, paranoid, condescending crazywoman." In October 2007, well before the rumors of her husband's infidelity were being taken seriously in the mainstream media, a furious Elizabeth allegedly tore open her blouse in the Raleigh, N.C., airport, "exposing herself" to her husband and wailing, "Look at me!" before staggering and "nearly falling to the ground."
5. Obama-Biden fallout
Vice President Joe Biden has a long history of verbal snafus, some of which caused tension between him and his running mate, Obama, during the '08 campaign. Shortly before the election, Obama apparently snapped at advisors, "How many times is Biden going to say something stupid?" According to the book, Obama and Biden's relationship cooled to a near-freeze, with the two rarely speaking and the vice presidential candidate often barred from campaign conference calls. Speaking to his staff, Biden responded to Obama's criticism, jokingly saying, "I guess it's a good thing I didn't say anything about bitter people who cling to their guns and religion."
READ MORE ON THE WEEK:
• Sarah Palin: It was "God's plan" that I be McCain's running mate
• Harry Reid's "Negro" mess
• 12 biggest controversies of 2009
- 4 secret societies you probably don't know about
- This is the twistiest tongue twister ever, says science
- The secrets of happy families
- Battle in a blizzard
- Did God have a wife?
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- How to stick it to the poor: A congressional strategy
- Why U.S. and British spies have moles in World of Warcraft
- Which professions have the most psychopaths?
Subscribe to the Week