“Double Down,” the latest book from “Game Change” authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, goes behind the scenes of the 2012 presidential election to find juicy tidbits from both sides of the campaign.
Here are seven of the best revelations from the book, which goes on sale on Tuesday (election day, of course):
Romney’s “Project Goldfish” organized running mate prospects according to fish names: Some candidate codenames were based on their weight, ethnicity and location: Chris Christie was “Pufferfish,” Tim Pawlewnty was “Lakefish,” Rob Portman was “Filet-O-Fish,” Marco Rubio was “Pescado” and Paul Ryan was “Fishconsin.”
The Pufferfish nearly had it: Some in Romney’s camp, including his senior advisor Stuart Stevens, strongly favored Christie as Romney’s running mate, but others were concerned about his chronic lateness, “garish controversies” and medical issues, and eventually convinced Romney to choose Ryan instead.
Obama nearly tanked his second debate: After Romney trounced Obama in the first debate, the president’s team prepared for the second with John Kerry doubling for Romney. When Kerry interrupted Obama, as he was instructed to do, Obama turned “nasty” and even “creepy,” as “style coach” Michael Sheehan described. Obama and his team managed to get it together in time for the second debate.
Obama considered dumping Biden for Hillary Clinton: In late 2011 with approval ratings slipping, Obama’s aides looked into bringing Clinton on as his running mate. Polls showed that the switch make no difference to Obama’s chances for re-election, and so Biden stayed.
Bill Clinton and Obama have an interesting relationship: Obama told an aide that he liked the former president “in doses.” Clinton, for his part, once described Obama as “luckier than a dog with two dicks.”
The source of Harry Reid’s “Romney hasn’t paid his taxes for the last 10 years” claim was … : Jon Huntsman, Sr. His son, Jon Huntsman, Jr., was running against Romney for the Republican nomination. Huntsman, Sr. has denied this in the past, and called the book’s claim “tabloid trash.”
Obama is good at killing things: In a Sept. 2011 meeting, Obama went over his presidency thus far, including the use of drones and the death of Osama bin Laden. “Turns out I’m really good at killing people,” he said. “Didn’t know that was gonna be a strong suit of mine.”