In their new book on the 2012 campaign, TIME’s Mark Halperin and New York’s John Heilemann provide readers with a behind-the-scenes look at some of the presidential race’s biggest moments.
Here’s what we learned about Republicans from Double Down: Game Change 2012:
- The White House tapped The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Superbad writer Judd Apatow to help write Obama’s Donald Trump jokes at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Along with Obama’s speechwriters Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett, Apatow crafted a brutal takedown of Trump, with the filmmaker providing the coup de grâce: a joke on The Apprentice referencing Lil Jon, Meat Loaf, and Gary Busey.
- Romney juiced the sales of his pre-campaign book No Apology to make sure it hit first place on the Times best seller list like Sarah Palin’s 2009 book, forgoing speaking fees to have groups buy copies of his book.
- Before announcing his bid for the White House, Romney held off-the-record barbecues and dinners for reporters to show his less-robotic private side.
- Christie told Romney not to fundraise in New Jersey until he endorsed a candidate, a demand that upset the eventual Republican nominee’s campaign.
- Jon Huntsman’s campaign uncovered the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain and peddled them to POLITICO.
- Romney actually rehearsed his singing of “America the Beautiful.” He sang it at a Florida event at the encouragement of best friend Bob White. Team Obama eventually used it as a damning soundtrack in one of the most popular ads of the 2012 campaign.
- The Obama campaign was instrumental in getting the British press to cover Romney’s comments about their preparedness for the Olympics, beginning the narrative that Romney had botched his foreign trip—(bonus) after the foreign trip, Romney sent a email to his staff, saying “A+ work by the team.”