Double Down Paperback – 7 Aug 2014
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"Explosive" (Daily Mail)
"Compelling" (The Observer)
"An energetic and entertaining account of the knives-out behind-the-scenes living during the world’s most hard-fought election" (The Irish Times)
"Full of page turning details … translates insider politics for mass-market readers" (Washington Post)
"The authors ability to get inside the campaigns and dramatise them make the book essential reading for those addicted to US politics" (Financial Times)
From the authors of the number one New York Times bestseller Game Change, an explosive account of the 2012 presidential electionSee all Product description
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My main criticism of the book is that it moves swiftly along through the controversies and calamities of the election with undue haste and without sufficient reflection on the underlying causes of the various events that made this election one of the most keenly fought and bitter contests in a very long time. The scale of President Obama's victory obscures the fact that both camps had genuine reasons to fear they would lose the election and that almost to the very end the outcome was in the balance. That sense of fear and suspense is well captured in this book and for that reason I rate it highly and would recommend it as an entertaining and enjoyable read.
The authors concentrate on Obama's re-election campaign, and in particular his hatred of debates. The Denver debate where he failed, and then onto the rest of the campaign. The high level of good will for the First Lady, Michelle, helped to give her the highest of likability of anyone in the campaign. The finely tuned operation that started in Chicago that made this election so winnable. What did surprise me, and I think it is relevant today, is the lack of really good, close people to surround the President and make sure all of his efforts and policies were on the right track and evolving as they should. Note the ACA disaster, no one seemed to be leading this effort. The President is a great idea man, but he is not one who follows up or leads the policies on-going.
And then there was Mr. Romney . Bill Clinton "remarked to a friend, that, while Mitt was a decent man, he was in the wrong line of work. 'He really shouldn't be speaking to people in public.' ". Time after time, Mitt Romney made such faux pas that showed this man was an elitist. President Obama disliked Romney intensely, and he had difficulty hiding it. The 47% remarks by Romney, really seemed to close his electability. And, even now, he still talks in that manner. His election group were off base, it seems, much of the time. His PAC groups were full of dirty tricks, that were outed and then eliminated. His wife, Anne, seems like a gracious woman who had no clue that the campaign was not going well. The race to the Republican candidacy is closely followed. The line of Republicans who wanted to be President is laughable, and Romney was the best of the group. Big money followed them, but Romney did not have the stuff to be President, and, it seems he knew that all along.
The final days of both campaigns are delineated in great detail. The book is not too unkind except to Bill Daley, Obama's Chief of Staff, but, I wonder if it is the people surrounding the president everyday, like Valerie Jarret, who are causing some of the misery. VP Biden, is as full of gaffs as always. Obama and Biden have a good relationship, but as we have seen before and during the 'shutdown', he was kept as far away from the action as possible. Many Dems in the Senate feel that when he negotiates, he 'gives away the store'. A likable guy, but not someone you want negotiating. I can't wait to read his autobiography, and see how he feels he was treated. Romney's lead man Stuart Stevens, comes off looking clownish at times, and, no one in that campaign had any idea of how the race for Presidency was really going down. It is us, the voters, who doubled down.
Recommended. prisrob 11-07-13
Some clear core themes - Obama's constancy versus Romney's capacity for gaffes, echo throughout the tale, yet get developed and refined as events unfold.
Even though we all know-how the ending, the book targets pace and maintains its grip. The story behind live debates is a strong part of the momentum.
Obviously as an Englishman, I am excluded, but this would be essential reading for a 2016 candidate!
Highly reccommended to fellow political junkies!
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