5 revelations from 'Game Change'

With an election season like this, who needs entertainment? Just as the 2012 presidential nominating race is heating up, HBO is resurrecting the stranger-than-fiction 2008 contest with "Game Change," a TV movie directed by Jay Roach and adapted by Danny Strong from John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s book of the same title. Starring Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin and Ed Harris as John McCain, the movie explores the explosive personalities, marital problems, and character quirks that made the 2008 election “the race of a lifetime,” as the book’s subtitle suggests. Before watching the movie, it’s worth taking a second look at the book and its often disturbing revelations. Here, then, in our opinion, are the 5 most interesting revelations from “Game Change.” (Warning: No one emerges from these pages looking very good.)

Actor Ed Harris (l.) plays John McCain and Julianne Moore (r.) portrays Sarah Palin in the HBO adaptation of 'Game Change.' Phil Caruso/HONS/HBO/AP

1. Elizabeth Edwards’s badgering, bullying behavior

By Mark Duncan/STF/AP

For all its revelations about Sarah Palin, when “Game Change” first came out, perhaps the biggest bubble it burst was that of Elizabeth Edwards' reputation as an angelic, courageous heroine.

In the book, Edwards’s behavior outdid even her husband’s infatuation with video maker Rielle Hunter, a relationship that was the ultimate downfall of his campaign. Heilemann and Halperin write that John Edwards’s aides “regarded [Elizabeth Edwards] as a badgering, often irrational presence on the campaign,” writes The New York Times

“The nearly universal assessment among them,” Halperin and Heilemann write of the Edwards’s aides, “was that there was no one on the national stage for whom the disparity between public image and private reality was vaster or more disturbing. What the world saw in Elizabeth: a valiant, determined, heroic everywoman. What the Edwards insiders saw: an abusive, intrusive, paranoid, condescending crazywoman.”

[Considering the audacity of the book’s assertions, we should point out that Halperin and Heilemann rely heavily on unnamed sources, deep background, and in some cases, speculation.]

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