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The End of the Line: Romney vs. Obama: the 34 days that decided the election: Playbook 2012 (POLITICO Inside Election 2012) (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Glenn Thrush , Jonathan Martin
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The fourth and final eBook in POLITICO’s Playbook 2012 series once again provides an unprecedented minute-by-minute account of the race for the presidency. The End of the Line follows President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney as their campaign teams go all-in to win in the critical final weeks of the 2012 election.
From Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” video to Clint Eastwood’s speech to an empty chair, the 2012 presidential campaign did not lack for memorable moments. In The End of the Line, POLITICO senior White House reporter Glenn Thrush and senior political reporter Jonathan Martin chronicle every hairpin turn in a race that defied the predictions of pundits and prognosticators.
While some political observers considered Barack Obama’s reelection far from a sure thing, the president and his team remained resolute in their belief that they would prevail. In Boston, Mitt Romney’s advisers were just as confident that their man was headed for a smashing victory. In the end, only one of those views would be validated by events. The outcome of this election was never foreordained, however, and would ultimately be determined by two candidates, three debates, and a thousand small but critical strategic decisions.
With an eye toward writing a “first draft of history,” Thrush and Martin report on the intense internal debates over ad strategy that defined the parameters of the fall campaign—including a crucial late-May decision by the Obama campaign that may have tipped the scales in the president’s favor. They provide a behind-the-scenes look at the candidates’ debate preparation sessions, and they reveal why Romney’s campaign was so confident they were going to win.
The action climaxes on election night, as the opposing camps huddle nervously in their hotel suites to await the verdict of the voters. The End of the Line reveals for the first time what the Obama brain trust really thought about the agonizingly long wait for Romney’s official concession—and what happened after Obama put the telephone to his ear and heard the words “Hello, Mr. President, it’s Mitt Romney.”
No one could have predicted all the twists and turns of the 2012 election—and no one was better equipped to chronicle them than the POLITICO team. The End of the Line is frontline campaign reporting at its finest, meticulously reported and compulsively readable.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2334 KB
  • Print Length: 78 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (17 Dec. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #320,817 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Culled from newspaper headlines 29 Sept. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you like the cool analysis of books like Robert Worcester's Labour's Landslide (explaining Blair's 1997 victory) then this mish mash is not for you.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A lively, captivating read 19 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A captivating read, low on analysis but high on pace and level of descriptiveness - precisely the thing Politico does best.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  193 reviews
60 of 69 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 18 Dec. 2012
By aniruddha marathe - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very disappointing. I read the first three books and was dying to read this book but after finishing the book I was very disappointed. Why? Several reasons.

First it lacks the details of election day happenings. I believe that Romney team was very confident about the outcome until late in the night. There is no information about what was going on in the entire day.

There is no detailed reporting about how exactly Obama team managed to get the turn out they did. This is very crucial, because nobody believed that Obama base would turn out in huge numbers.

There is no information about the famous Karl Rove drama that unfolded on Fox News.

There is absolutely no personal stories of how election result affected Romney and his family especially his wife, who played bigger role in the campaign.

There is no reporting about Congressional Republicans about their reactions on election results.

There is no reporting of election day from battleground states.

No reporting on how Obama managed to win Florida.

Very disappointing. Looks like hurriedly written to meet the deadline.

Added on: 1-17-2013. I watched Game Change Movie a couple of days ago. THIS IS NO GAME CHANGE! Far inferior to that if you are still lingering in Game Change. I also wnatd to add that the book does not report about what happened when 47% video came out. Romney folks must have been extremely edgy and disappointed! On top of it if you remember first Romney was not at all retracting his statement, so what was the advice he received on that proposition and from whom?, and how did he change his tune later on to say he was for 100%? What were inside debates? No reporting. I was also disappointment of Romney supporters e.g. the likes of EX NH Governor Sununu and such. These folks were very vocal.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inside The Last 34 Days Of The 2012 Presidential Campaigns 19 Dec. 2012
By MrBreeze9999 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In the epilogue of this e-book the authors describe their effort as a form of immediate long journalism that seeks to add some of the depth of a book format. It is a good description of this book.

POLITICO writes good political journalism. You will find many interesting anecdotes, quotes, and observations about how the Obama and Romney campaigns conducted themselves in the closing months of their presidential campaigns in 2012.

The Democrats were clearly waging a more focused, more ground worthy professional game based on the 2004 and the 2008 presidential campaigns. The Republicans were using models they had developed to extrapolate a map more from 2008 and the Republican off-year election success in 2010.

The Romney campaign was oddly professionalized to the point of overall ineffectiveness: too much money and time was sunk into GOP establishment type pollsters, advertisers and get-out-the-vote operations focused almost exclusively on Republican base voters.

The Obama campaign was run much more intelligently and more efficiently using data mining techniques garnered from a Google CEO and implemented relentlessly by numerous in-state Obama offices and a laser focused direct contact force of volunteers who telephoned, knocked on doors, followed up with groups and individuals on social media, and even drove voters to voting booths and provided encouragement and coffee to people stuck in voting lines.

My favorite anecdote involves former press secretary Robert Gibbs trying to pick up President Obama's spirits after his first awful performance in his presidential debate with Romney on October 3 in Denver.

Gibbs knew that one of the pleasures the president missed the most was not being able to get behind the wheel of a car and simply drive himself around. Gibbs also knows the president had a particular fascination for the new all electric cars, the Chevrolet Volt.

When Gibbs was invited for a "friendly luncheon" with Obama a few days after his dismal Denver debate, he surprised the president with a drive in a Chevrolet Volt, allowing the president himself to take a spin 3 times around the gated grounds around the White House. The president's spirits picked right up.

One of the most puzzling aspect revealed is how wrong the Romney polling was throughout the campaign, and conversely, how completely accurate the Obama internal polling was. Nate Silver has established pretty exhaustively that the race was never really very close, even for the few weeks Romney's numbers surged after his first successful debate. The Obama team never felt they would not win at least 290 electoral votes with only 270 needed to win.

At this point, a little over a month from the election of 2012, the Electoral College was a landslide win for Obama. He won 51% of the popular vote to Romney's 47%. Obama joins only 5 other U.S. presidents to win two terms with 51% or more of the popular vote for each term.

For the record the other presidents were: Jackson, Grant, McKinley, FDR and Eisenhower.

Obama's name can now be added to that list of most popular elected and re-elected presidents.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Romney Lacked in Style He Made up in Denial 19 Dec. 2012
By Eclecticism - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Yes, I know that's not original.

"The End of the Line" is the fourth and last E-book on the 2012 campaign from Politico. Authors Glenn Thrush and Jonathan Martin bring us through the dramatic conclusion of the campaign: the two conventions, preps for and results of the four debates, the desperate last-gasp ads, and election night. I did not read Politico every single day but I did read it most of the workweek, so there was enough new material in here to hold my interest. And there were a lot of after-action inteviews (from both sides), so this mini-book -- which you can get through in two hours easily -- did have much material that will be new even for daily readers. Obama supporters will be sighing with relief; Romney backers will be gnashing their teeth. I especially enjoyed the authors' discussion of the Obama campaign's long game; just like in 2008, it was clear which campaign had analyzed the conditions correctly and acted accordingly.

I would have appreciated a bit more on election-night drama: how the vice gradually tightened, the Rove meltdown, the dirge-like atmosphere on Fox, etc. There is good reporting on the atmosphere inside the Obama camp as they waited, interminably, for Romney to concede. So election-night drama is not totally missing. But this is an E-book single, not an exhaustive history of the campaign, so something had to give.

Bottom line: Worth the price. Even hard-core politicos will find something to think about here.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting for junkies 19 Dec. 2012
By Wilson - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a political junkie, I liked this book, and it was a great value at this price point. You really get the sense of what it feels like to be inside a campaign with the daily ebbs and flows. My one criticism is that the authors need to realize they are not teenagers. While certain phrases might be acceptable as part of casual speech or a quotation, calling something an "epic fail" or describing a person as being "chill" is not really appropriate for a serious text.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars New juicy bits on the 2012 campaign 23 Dec. 2012
By Scott Porch - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
In the opening anecdote of Glenn Thrush and Jonathan Martin's The End of the Line, their behind-the-scenes ebook about the last month of the 2012 presidential campaign, we join our regularly scheduled election already in progress:

It was more than an hour after the networks had called the election, and Mitt Romney had not addressed the media or made the traditional concession phone call to the winner. David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett were agitated. Obama's campaign manager called the Romney campaign manager and got his voicemail. "He'll call," Obama told his team. Finally, at 12:30 a.m., after much of America had seen the outcome and gone to bed, Obama's phone rang. "Hello, Mr. President, it's Mitt Romney..."

This is the fourth in a series of short ebooks that Politico rolled out at various points during the campaign. Politico goes on on a limb to call the series "a new form of campaign chronicle, combining the in-depth reporting of a book with the immediacy of deadline journalism." I think that's largely right, but the depth and the immediacy necessarily work at cross purposes.

If journalism is the first draft of history, Politico's Playbook 2012 series falls somewhere between the first draft and the second. It lacks the narrative power of, say, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's Game Change. But Game Change was published 14 months after the 2008 election; three-fourths of the Playbook 2012 series was published during the 2012 campaign.

The End of the Line is not a comprehensive narrative; it is a reporter's notebook. Campaign insiders retell and analyze events that we all watched in real-time -- the stump speeches, the ads, the debates, and election night. It is not a definitive history of the election, and it does not purport to be, but two themes do emerge: Obama's early success in defining Romney, and the Romney campaign's certainty to the last minute that they were going to win.

The Obama campaign started running battleground-state ads against Romney as soon as the Republican primary ended in May. By branding Romney so early and with so much available bandwidth to get the message out before voters were sick of campaign ads, the Obama camp established Romney's brand before Romney could do so himself.

The Romney brand? Shortly after the election, former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour described the Obama team's take on Romney as aptly as I've seen: "This was all personal: that Romney is a vulture capitalist who doesn't care about people like you, ships jobs overseas, is a quintessential plutocrat, and is married to a known equestrian." Exactly.

Also, Romney had written an op-ed in the New York Times called "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" during the auto bailouts. Thrush and Martin describe this as "the major impediment to seriously challenging Obama in the industrial Midwest -- especially in Ohio" and the impetus for Romney's disastrous late-October TV ad that accused Obama of moving Chrysler jobs to China, and drew a sharp, public rebuke from Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

All of the interviews for The End of the Line were conducted after the election or with the understanding that the story would not be published until after the election, so the ebook provides one of the first glimpses of the big moments of the campaign with the first layer of spin peeled away. What emerges is a bizarre dual reality -- both campaigns getting increasing confident of victory the closer they got to election day.

One of the campaigns, of course, turned out to be delusional -- blindly relying on voter-turnout models that reality would not later bear out.

"I totally believed we were going to win," Romney finance chief Spencer Zwick told the authors, "and I think everyone around [Romney] believed we were going to win. If anyone tells you that they knew we weren't going to win, I think they're lying to you."

I had read Politico and New Republic's stories on the Romney camp's election-night optimism weeks before The End of the Line was published, but it was still jarring to see the conviction in Romney pollster Neil Newhouse -- the day before the election -- predicting wins in Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire in an all-caps email to the campaign senior staff.

The ebook's real value is in the great, never-before-published anecdotes: Obama driving Robert Gibbs' Chevy Volt around the White House parking lot. White House press secretary Jay Carney doing the "Gangnam Style" dance. Obama getting drilled in mock debate after mock debate by Sen. John Kerry and then by Romney in the actual first debate.

The ebook shifts back and forth from the Obama campaign to the Romney campaign, but the Obama story is better. It's hard to tell if that's because Obama's was the more interesting of the two campaigns to cover (and the Romney campaign was too boring for anecdote), if the Romney staffers were just more tight-lipped with the details.

I suspect it's both. Throughout the campaign, the reporting on the Romney campaign showed it to be a corporate outfit with a small group of decision-makers. And there's not much evidence that two significant campaign figures -- Romney's wife Ann and oldest son Tagg -- gave interviews to the authors.

Ultimately, it is what it is -- a $2.99, two-hour, behind-the-scenes read that casts some new reporting into the well of coverage of the 2012 campaign. The next batch -- more in-depth books by reporters (including Game Change II) and campaign staffers -- will be more illuminating still.
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