Campaign Confidential

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Co-authors of Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime (Harper, 2010), John Heilemann, national political columnist for New York Magazine, and Mark Halperin, editor-at-large and senior political analyst at Time Magazine, got the scoop on the 2008 election.


Mark Halperin and John Heilemann

Comments [53]

Nate from Manhattan

Juan Willliams, who is African Amercian and a regular on FOX, was on Morning Edition today.

He said that the Republican claim is a stretch and that he does not know of a single African American who took offense to the Reid comment.

The authors, it seems, are trying to manufacture an uproar.

Jan. 13 2010 10:52 AM
Mack from NYC

Reid's comment was as offensive, if not moreso, than Biden's remark a few years ago that pretty much said the same thing - marveling at the existence of an actual clean-cut, articulate black man (which was somewhat less offensive than his quip about only Indians working at Dunkin Donuts).

The bottom line is that this is just more proof that the Left is obsessed with race, not out of concern for minorities, but rather solely as a means of maintaining their power base. As long as there are "light-skinned, articulate negroes" whom they can use as pitch men, then there will be politicians who will be willing to exploit them for their own gain.

The more you defend Reid, the more you expose this fact.

Jan. 13 2010 12:16 AM
John Steph from Park Slope, BK

You are in fact wrong, Mike. The question was "what's the opposite of misogynist" - no one brought up anything about misanthrope. But you certainly got your anger with humanity out with that first comment! Take a deep breath.

Jan. 12 2010 01:11 PM
Mike from Inwood

Perhaps I was wrong; perhaps 'misandry' is a different word than 'misanthropy', at least now. The latter, at least, which means hate of people. I'll consult the EOD later and see whether 'misandry' is a synonym for 'misanthropy' and if it's not, when ceased to be (if it ever was) and when it became part of the language.

Jan. 12 2010 11:48 AM
M from NJ

In the interview Brian asks something along the lines of - whether or not people around Sarah Palin who described her emotional state of mind (after I think it was the Katie Couric interview) had been too hard on her when she was just reacting like any woman would in a similar situation. I really don't think that Brian is an overt sexist but this reference to "reacting like any woman would" was a curious choice for someone questioning the possible sexist response of others.

I hope that I misheard this otherwise I do wish that Brian would explain this stereo typing in this comment. I hope that I am reacting as any woman SHOULD.

Jan. 12 2010 11:44 AM
Chem from NJ

I find it sooo interesting that Mr. Lehrer blatantly states that this show would not address the question of race that seems to be all the rage on network news. It comforts me in one sense because we all know that this is all media hype to get ratings cause topics on race is sexy now (all those cnn specials that superficially document the demographic changes in the U.S. are really making me nauseas)and everybody knows what Reid meant.

But then yaw jump into some gossipy ish about the Clinton's marital life.

Why can't we have a grown up discussions about the impact of history on "Mainstream" American culture when it comes to it's "democratic" government and the elect-ability of political candidates? We don't talk about race like grown ups!!!

Why can't we have a grown up discussion about the impact of patriarchy in global culture, specifically in the developed-western world? Why not ask questions about the dichotomy of social scrutiny between the genders? And how that impacts the elect-ability of political candidates.

When are we going to be brave enough to talk like grown ups?

Jan. 12 2010 11:43 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Interesting that the word for man hating seems to be a general term for human hating. The term for women hating can only be applied to women. I guess the "default human" is a man.

John from Park Slope: I hear you!

Jan. 12 2010 11:38 AM
Ashton from Chelsea, Manhattan

As I listened to this segment -- and I have no intentions of buying such a book -- I had three thoughts: "Trash, trash, trash!"

Jan. 12 2010 11:35 AM
Nate from Manhattan

Your guests justify their lack of principled journalism by saying:

"No one has takes us to task for anything we have said."

Ummm, maybe they don't want to honor gossip or help your guests sell your books by giving them the free publicity of a public spat. Whichi is exactly what happened with the Reid incident.

"This is not an unorthodox method and serves the public interest."

That is exactly the issue for me. The skirting of journalistic principles and ethics has become so commonplace that its mere propensity becomes justification for doing more of it.

"Did you follow the two source method?"

"It was sourced to our satisfaction. You don't always need two sources."

Wow, that really answers the question!

Jan. 12 2010 11:34 AM
Tigersfan from Brooklyn


Jan. 12 2010 11:34 AM
John from Park Slope, Brooklyn

proud to be an independent conservative and this is one of the reasons I dropped the Dem party during the last election.

Jan. 12 2010 11:33 AM
john from office

The media anger comes from the fact that democrats are smeared. If it were republicans only there would be no out cry.

Jan. 12 2010 11:32 AM
Leah from Manhattan

What does Elizabeth Edward's personality have to do with anything? This book seems gossipy and indeed novelistic more than journalistic.

Jan. 12 2010 11:32 AM
Mike from Inwood

Misandry/Misanthrope is NOT the hate of men. It is the hate of people. Like Mankind does not refer to only men, but all of humanity. There is no word to refer to the hate of men. It is the sexism of the language. Your staff is WRONG.

Jan. 12 2010 11:32 AM
Lori from Montclair, NJ

I agree with you, Nate. Clearly, Clinton's comment referred to Obama's very junior status and lack of DC experience.

How about looking at the key leadership in the Clinton White House (many of whom are African-Americans) and the policies he promoted/supported as President and then analyze his comment? How about finding ANYONE else or ANY other quote indicating that Clinton is racist? They won't.

Jan. 12 2010 11:31 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I see. John Edwards is now the injured party. Wow!

Jan. 12 2010 11:31 AM
Brian from Brooklyn, NY


Jan. 12 2010 11:31 AM
john from office

Liberals have much more interesting sex lives.

Jan. 12 2010 11:30 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

Boy that was some fancy tap dancing on the subject of sourcing. Based on what has come out so far, it sounds like this book was written to generate interest in the authors and raise their inside the beltway cred. They've certainly managed to trash most (if not all) of the players in the 2008 election.

Jan. 12 2010 11:29 AM
Will from Brooklyn

These guys are stenographers for the powerful, not journalists.

Jan. 12 2010 11:29 AM
mc from Brooklyn

This is why I dropped out of the Dem party.

Jan. 12 2010 11:29 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Please, guys, don't use for cover the fact that some of your sources were women. Some of the worst sexists are women.

Jan. 12 2010 11:29 AM

Oh Please,

You doing this for the public? If so why wasn't this stuff reported during the campaign? Why wasn't this kind of reporting done at the time? Why wait till you publish a book? Let's face it's about money for yourselves! I don't have a problem with it, but don't insult me with this nonsense about what is good for society.

Jan. 12 2010 11:28 AM
Tracy from NYC

If Palin and Ms. Edwards are unfairly smeared by this book, it's because the people they were interviewing didn't like them. Let's not blame these authors for the negative portayals.

Jan. 12 2010 11:28 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

I love it..."FAUX Outrage"! lol

Jan. 12 2010 11:24 AM
Craig from Financial District

....and this is what happens when democrats are in office. No issues get discussed, just the gossip around them. If only the 2000 election got this much attention. But a stolen election is nothing compared to gossip.

Jan. 12 2010 11:24 AM
john from office

If a republican said the coffee remark, Brian would be nuts. But it was clinton, so it ok.

Jan. 12 2010 11:22 AM
Nate from Manhattan

"Running for coffee."

Your guests say that it could have different interpretations.

"But we don't offer an interpretation of that in the book."

Or in this interview.

We will just put this out there and fuel a partisan discussion.

Yet earlier in the discussion of the Reid comment and the Republican riling of the masses, they made sure they said that there are some people who are actually offended.

No analysis. No asking people who might have more of a clue to the answer. No journalism.

Jan. 12 2010 11:22 AM
Gabby from Manhattan

To us non-political people, some details sound like incredible betrayal by the "sources" to the principals. Is this how the political world works? Is it taken as granted that your aids will talk six months later?

Jan. 12 2010 11:22 AM
MK from Manhattan

Why should we believe anything these people say? they are not revealing the people who apparently told them the information, so we can't even confirm the accuracy of the comments. I wonder if they are just trying to sell their book.

Jan. 12 2010 11:20 AM
Gabby from Manhattan

Along the same line of what the authors thought were important revelations in the book versus what the media picked up, are you surprised that nobody is willing to talk about the Edwards? Clearly you thought it was important enough to write a cover story for New York Magazine about is.

Jan. 12 2010 11:19 AM
Nate from Manhattan

Your guests themselves talk about the rumors of Bill Clinton's affair as "Washington gossip" and "rumors" and that the NY Times was "trying to write about it" yet disavow that that is what the book is about.

They also ignore their part in perpetuating the discussion of the rumor and gossip and KEEPING THE FOCUS not on the issues, but on the gossip.

Jan. 12 2010 11:18 AM
Chriss from NJ


Please ask your guests WHY NOW?

Why did this Reid quote get released now?

Was hurting Health Care and Reid's reelection tied into the Launch of the book?

(... Me thinks yes. Which makes me question their "journalistic" integrity.)

Jan. 12 2010 11:17 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

The Republicans are just stirring up faux outrage and throwing anything at the wall to see if it sticks. They are just creating a dust storm to stall the Obama's legislative agenda. And naturally the entire media has obliged.

Jan. 12 2010 11:16 AM

I am disappointed that you are even wasting your time with all this hoopla, Brian. This is nothing but politics that have absolutely no bearing on the lives of the people in this country. Can we stop indulging our politicians and their petty smoke screens? There are real issues that we should be discussing around the clock. Don't sink to the level of TV news Brian, you are better than that.

Jan. 12 2010 11:16 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

Harry Reid said out loud what most white people of his era still believe.

Jan. 12 2010 11:14 AM
Johnny S from Cranford, NJ

How can the Democrats force Obamacare on Americans when they can't even not make comments that won't be seen as racist by right-wing commentators!

Jan. 12 2010 11:14 AM
Kas from Brooklyn

How is this book any different than a book about Paris Hilton behind the scenes, etc? This kind of pernicious gossip/political reporting takes up the space in the media for the real news that citizens need. These two guys are being disingenuous when protesting that they'd like to move to more substantive topics; they're laughing all the way to the bank.

Jan. 12 2010 11:14 AM
Sammy from Dyker Heights

Why was Mr. Reid using "antiquated" language? Was he maybe addressing an "antiquated" audience?

Jan. 12 2010 11:13 AM
Lee NYC from NYC

The fact that this story continues to resonate just reflects the weakness of Reid's position. I agree there are far more useful insights in the book.

Jan. 12 2010 11:12 AM
Nate from Manhattan


Please ask your guests how they can call this political reporting when there is no attribution the sources and therefore no accountability or credibiity.

How do we know anything is true? How do we know when something is being paraphrased?

As your guests haven't followed journalistic principles here, their book seems like gossip rather than journalism.

Jan. 12 2010 11:12 AM
richard Weed from brooklyn

Wasn't Harry Reid's comment covered by the media, briefly, years ago when he made the comment?

Jan. 12 2010 11:10 AM
Terry from Red Hook

The timing just seems weird - health care passes, Harry Reid under fire as an incumbent, and Martin Luther King day coming up. Sounds like there's a shrewd marketing campaign behind this.

Jan. 12 2010 11:10 AM
maldo from New York City

Mr. Lehrer, regarding the press' fascination with Harry Reid's statement, are you seriously saying that an item in a book is not worth commenting on if it's not quoted in the press release? Do you mean to say that the press should obediently follow the dictates of the spin doctors? Surely that's not what you intended to say.

Jan. 12 2010 11:10 AM
geo from astoria

Exposing how truly ignorant and unintelligent Sarah Palin is through true accounts of experiences with her, is a wonderful accomplishment in this book. America needs to know the truth about the people seeking to lead them. I hope this changes peoples minds about her. She does not in anyway deserve to be on a pedestal as she is.

Jan. 12 2010 11:01 AM
Linda from East Village

First, comments by John from Wantagh (1, above)--absolutely on target. It appears to me too that all the hysterical "PC" focus on Harry Reid is an effort to deflect from the Sarah Palin debacle.

I gather also that the book has negative comments on Elizabeth Edwards that many in the media have tiptoed past or not addressed at all. Assume this is because John Edwards no longer has political coinage, and there is embarrassment concerning negatives about his wife. But what do the authors have to say about this?

Jan. 12 2010 10:59 AM
RCT from NYC

Re Reid:

Reid's comment can't be compared to Lott's, because one expressed a political judgment re a commonplace (white people are prejudiced) whereas the other expressed a putative personal opinion that was racist (segregation might have spared us a lot of "problems") -- but that's not the issue.

Trent Lott is not a racist. He made the comments about segregation at the 100th birthday party of a senile segretationist and was merely "humoring" the old man. Lott's voting record speaks for itself.

Moreover, everyone in Congress knew that, including the Democrats who forced Lott out. What happened was a political assassination, and the sub-text to all the yelling about Reid is, "You assassinated our guy because he misspoke in public, so now we get to kill yours." It's not a bad argument, actually. What's wrong is the political climate in which people keep trying to knock off the other side's leaders on pretexts. (C.f., the Clinton impeachment and trial.)

So we should stop.

Jan. 12 2010 10:56 AM
RCT from NYC

One theme in this book -- which I've just ordered from Amazon (why no Kindle option?) --appears to be "Those loud, noisy, uppity, disobedient women!" Clinton, Palin & Elizabeth Edwards, or so I'm told, all come off as self-willed broads with big mouths.

As one (female) CNN commentator remarked last night, maybe the truth is actually that these women all have zero tolerance for incompetent men. That goes for Palin as well who, while she may not have known why there are two Koreas, or whom we were fighting in Iraq, did know why she had been nominated -- to win over the far right -- and whom she was supposed to defeat -- liberal and mainstream Democrats. Her handlers kept missing that point.

So the "revelation" here is that, while all three women played nice girl and good "mom" in public (even Clinton, with the diamond earrings and references to her Dad), they whipped butt in private. I'm actually pleased to hear that. We need more disobedient women telling tough guys to clean up their acts.

Jan. 12 2010 10:51 AM

Thank god for this topic. We won't have to listen to the endless discussion about the Christmas bomber any more.

Jan. 12 2010 10:46 AM
hjs from 11211

I love this as much as I love to read the national inquire head lines in the checkout line.
but to bad we can't talk about real news today. 40,000 americans will die just because they don't have health insurance this year. but gossip is more fun.

Jan. 12 2010 10:00 AM
Aaron Whitby from Brooklyn

oops, wrong link above. Sorry.

Jan. 12 2010 09:13 AM
Aaron Whitby from Brooklyn

Dear Brian, I hope you will not salve over Halperin and Heilemann and shill for their publisher but treat them with appropriate journalistic caution and mistrust. Though I fear that you will indulge their dangerous cynicism. Do you research these kind of guests? Please take a minute to read Greenwald on this book in the link below.

Aaron Whitby

Jan. 12 2010 09:07 AM
John from Wantagh

Now wait a moment...
In my humble opinion, the RNC Chairman's absurd comparison between Sen's. Reed and Lott makes absolutely NO sense


we continue to read the copious facts from the book which corroborate all the embarrassing details of the failed McCain-Palin ticket...

This seems to be a huge diversionary tactic by Mr. Steele, doesn't it?

Let's be real, folks! Let Sen. Reid apologize for being a flawed human (as we all are) and let's get re- mavericky and ask the RNC re: 2008 campaign strategy, "What were you thinking?"

Can't wait to read the rest of the book!

Jan. 12 2010 12:47 AM

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