It was team Huntsman, not team Romney, that leaked damaging information to the media about GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels during the run up to the 2012 election, the new book "Double Down" reveals.
"Double Down" discusses when Daniels was contemplating a run for the White House in 2011, it was his complicated family life that kept him sidelined.
In 1994, his wife Cheri left Daniels for a married man, but then the couple reconciled and remarried. "In the years since, she had never spoken publicly about the turmoil, and Mitch had done so only once – pithily telling the Indianapolis Star, 'If you like happy endings, you'll love our story,'" wrote authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.
But then, as Cheri Daniels was about to keynote a fundraising dinner for Indiana Republicans – considered to be a big step toward her husband throwing his hat in – "an official for another GOP prospect" leaked the phone number of Cheri Daniels' ex-husband's ex-wife, who called her "vengeful" and a "narcissist," the book reported.
"In the Daniels orbit, all fingers pointed at the Romney camp, and in particular to [Romney's campaign manager Matt] Rhoades, for shopping the ex-wife's cell-phone and e-mail address to the press," the "Double Down" authors wrote.
But, in reality, the person behind the leak was Matt David, presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman's communications director-to-be, Heilemann and Halperin reported.
Additionally, when former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain's campaign was rising, it was again team Huntsman that let the air out.
"After getting a tip from a donor, Huntsman's researchers had dug into Cain's past, discovered the first two sexual harassment claims, and fed the story to Politico," the authors wrote. "As they waited for Politico to turn their tip into a story, members of Huntsman's circle asked each other when the 'high heel' was going to drop on Cain."
The book also outs Jon Huntsman Sr. as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's source for when Reid said that GOP nominee Mitt Romney didn't pay taxes for 10 years. Since news of the book's allegation, Huntsman Sr. has condemned the reporting.
"It's so ridiculous that people associate my name with Mitt Romney's tax returns, like I would have interest in it or know about it," Huntsman told the Salt Lake Tribune.
"These fellows who wrote this book, they dwell on falsehoods and false rumors. They're nothing but supermarket, tabloid trash. They ought to be ashamed of themselves."
"Double Down" is the sequel to the authors' hit book on the 2008 campaign, "Game Change." Whispers independently acquired an advanced copy, but it hits bookshelves everywhere Tuesday.