Quote of the day

“The relationship between Barack Obama and Joe Biden grew so strained during the 2008 campaign, according to a new book, that the two rarely spoke and aides not only kept Biden off internal conference calls but refused to even tell him they existed…

“[W]hen Biden, at an October fund-raiser in Seattle, famously predicted that Obama would be tested with an international crisis, the then-Illinois senator had had enough.

“‘How many times is Biden gonna say something stupid?’ he demanded of his advisers on a conference call, a moment at which most people on the call said the candidate was as angry as they had ever heard him…

“Speaking to his own staff, Biden insisted that it hadn’t really been a gaffe. And feeling a bit defensive, he invoked one of the worst memories of Obama’s primary campaign.

“‘I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t say anything about bitter people who cling to their guns and religion,’ Biden cracked, the authors paraphrase.”

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“For all the high drama of the Obama-Clinton battle and the historic import of the former’s general-election victory over McCain, Edwards’s story is equally, lastingly resonant: an archetypal political tragedy in which the very same qualities that fuel any presidential bid—ego, hubris, vanity, neediness, a kind of delusion—became all-consuming and self-destructive. And in which the gap between public façade and private reality simply grew too vast to bridge…

“Many of his friends started noticing a change—the arrival of what one of his aides referred to as ‘the ego monster’—after he was nearly chosen by Al Gore to be his running mate in 2000: the sudden interest in superficial stuff to which Edwards had been oblivious before, from the labels on his clothes to the size of his entourage. But the real transformation occurred in the 2004 race, and especially during the general election. Edwards reveled in being inside the bubble: the Secret Service, the chartered jet, the press pack, the swarm of factotums catering to his every whim. And the crowds! The ovations! The adoration! He ate it up. In the old days, when his aides asked how a rally had gone, he would roll his eyes and self-mockingly say, ‘Oh, they love me.’ Now he would bound down from the stage beaming and exclaim, without the slightest shred of irony, ‘They looooove me!’…

“As for Elizabeth Edwards, she is reportedly now urging John to accede to Hunter’s demands and take responsibility for his paternity of Frances Quinn—a dramatic and no doubt painful turnabout from her position eighteen months ago. Confronted then with the Enquirer photo of her husband cuddling Hunter’s baby, she insisted to Palmieri that she still believed he was not the father. ‘I have to believe it,’ Elizabeth said. ‘Because if I don’t, it means I’m married to a monster.'”