"Game Change" Dissects Obama, Edwards, Palin and Clinton

(CBS/AP Photo)
Updated 3:25 p.m. ET

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid is taking heat for past, racially-insensitive remarks revealed in a new book called "Game Change." However, Reid is not the only member of Washington's elite who comes under scrutiny in the book.

The book recounts details from the 2008 presidential campaign trail about everyone from former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and President Obama himself.

In the book, these familiar politicos are "depicted as vastly different from their public images," writes Ben Smith of Politico. "The one character who appears in the book as he'd like you to see him: Obama."

However, the book asserts that Mr. Obama's relationship with Vice President Joe Biden was at times strained, Politico reports. Mr. Obama's running mate was reportedly kept off internal conference calls on the campaign trail.

Other tidbits from Mr. Obama's campaign are described, such as his trip to Nashville before deciding to run, in which he received former Vice President Al Gore's assurance that he wouldn't run, reports CBS News chief political consultant, the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder.

Steve Schmidt, chief campaign strategist for GOP presidential candidate John McCain, recounted on CBS' "60 Minutes" details from their side of the race, which are included in "Game Change." Schmidt says McCain was seriously considering Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) as a running mate before choosing then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Watch the Full "60 Minutes" Report
Read the Report: Revelations from the Campaign

The book reports on the alleged conflicts within the Democratic party over their candidate, claiming that powerful Democrats like New York Sen. Chuck Schumer urged Mr. Obama to run against then-Sen. Hillary Clinton -- a claim both Schumer and Clinton dispute, the New York Daily News reports.

When powerful Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) was in the process of deciding which fellow Democrat to endorse, former President Bill Clinton reportedly made disparaging, apparently race-based remarks about Mr. Obama, commenting, "A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee."

As Ambinder reports, the book also claims that Hillary Clinton set up a "war room within a war room" to deal with rumors about Mr. Clinton's philandering, and that the group is said to have concluded that the former president was having "a sustained romantic relationship" with someone other than his wife.

Authors John Heilemann, of New York Magazine, and Mark Halperin, of Time, report on the details of former Sen. John Edwards' marriage to Elizabeth Edwards and his affair with another woman. At least three campaign aides reportedly resigned because of their knowledge of the affair, Ambinder says. An excerpt of the book focusing on the Edwards, published in New York Magazine, portrays the Edwards in a very unflattering light.

The book is eliciting a slew of extreme reactions, from critiques that it amounts to "petty, catty, gossipy, trashy sniping" to arguments that it proves the infamous tabloid the National Enquirer could be worthy of a Pulitzer Prize.

For their part, Heilemann and Halperin write that "what was missing" from the 2008 political coverage and what "might be of enduring value" was "an intimate portrait of the candidates and spouses who (in our judgment) stood a reasonable chance of occupying the White House."