Obama bound for New Hampshire

Clinton versus Obama: Is there any difference?

The Rumor-Mongering Media

Presidential Candidates Court Activists

Webb Offends Bush & the English Language

Brownback to pull investments from Sudan

Frist to focus on his roots

Are Americans Cheap?

Once again the Washington Times has run a sizable blurb on our 2008 Power Rankings. Thanks, WT, for reminding readers where they can find the original, one-and-only rankings.

“PoliticalDerby.com … one of the more intriguing tracking services for the current race for the White House.”

Read the rest of what the Washington Times had to say.

Obama talks with top advisers in Iowa

Democrats Pledge Array of Investigations

Denver poised to land ’08 Democratic convention

Romney’s dance to the right

The American Debate | Hillary Clinton could run and win

Democratic gains in suburbs spell trouble for GOP

Where Do Democrats Go From Here?


Welcome to the latest edition of PoliticalDerby.com’s 2008 Power Rankings, the first tracking service of the next race for the White House. The rankings are updated as circumstances warrant, generally twice a month. The rankings are compiled by our Editor using wire reports, campaign staffer scuttlebutt, and confidential tips. The rankings may not be reprinted or quoted in any form without attribution to PoliticalDerby.com.

Updated November 24, 2006

The GOP Horses
Power Ranking The Horse Previous Ranking Momentum The Tip Sheet
1 John McCain 1 The Maverick earned more than frequent flier miles this fall, he collected a tour bus full o’ chits from GOPers across the country. Unfortunately those aren’t worth nearly what they were on the open chit market just a few weeks ago. Many of the folks McCain stumped for are now waiting tables, or worse, practicing law. Now we wait to gauge whether the party’s faithful will embrace his Love Bus Tour. Sure, he still leads in the polls, but it’s hard to believe his numbers include the card carrying base that show up in the ice and snow to vote. For now McCain clings to the top spot, but the horses behind him are picking up serious steam as we round the quarter pole.
2 Mitt Romney 3 Romney has delayed an announcement about his ’08 plans until January, but that isn’t keeping him from closing the gap on McCain. He recently took his first shot, referring to McCain’s position on gay marriage as “disingenuous” and positioning himself as the only top-tier candidate on the right side of immigration, campaign reform, and detainee interrogation. Even Newt, a potential contender himself, has suggested Romney could be the one to offer a clear conservative voice. He’s polling better than six months ago and has a formidable infrastructure on the ground in key states. He trails McCain by less than a length.
3 Rudy Giuliani 2 Rudy is the nicest looking horse on the farm, but will primary and caucus voters feel the same after a full physical? He still lights up a room like no candidate from either side, Hillary inclusive, but he’s only known to most as a 9-11 hero and effective communicator. At some point he’ll have a whole lotta ‘splainin’ to do on affirmative action, gay rights, abortion, guns, etc. But for now he’s comfortably in the lead pack.
4 Newt Gingrich 4 Gingrich is running as an ideas candidate; it’s clear he has no intention of officially seeking the nomination. He recently pledged to hold off on a decision until September, but by then he’ll be 9 months too late. Nevertheless, expect Newt to remain active and relevant. The grassroots loves him and every other horse will be whining for his support and endorsement.
5 Mike Huckabee 5 The Tip Sheet wonders why it seems Huckabee has been running for president since about 1987. Yet despite these obvious designs on the White House, he has remarkably little presence in the key states. Will that change when he leaves the governor’s mansion in January? Or is the new-and-improved Mini-Me-Huckabee actually running for Number 2?
6 Mike Pence 8 Congressman Pence is emerging as the unofficial leader of conservatives in the House. The Tip Sheet hears chatter from House staffers that they pine for him to throw his hat in, but so far he’s given no indication he’s interested. If none of the horses ahead of him fail to ignite grassroots’ passions, look for Pence to start listening to the whispers. If nothing else, the Tip Sheet guarantees that Pence’s name will make the coveted VP vetting list.
7 Bill Frist 7 Frist is hanging by a thread thinner than an European super-model. His tenure as Majority Leader won’t win him many chapters in the history book of conservatism and he’s just watched the Senate slip away under his watch. He remains in the top 10 because he’s done more work on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire than most others, but the Tip Sheet predicts he’ll gracefully bow out no later than April Fool’s Day.
8 Condi Rice 9 Condi remains in the top ten because she still has very ardent supporters with their petitions, bill boards, web sites and prayer beads. There’s only one problem and it might be tougher to solve than the North Korean standoff. She doesn’t want to be president. Generally that’s considered a prerequisite in this country.
9 Duncan Hunter 10 Hunter’s name appears regularly on at least one ultra-conservative e-mail list as the last great hope for conservatives. He has virtually no shot of winning the nomination, but he’s commended for a record decidedly more consistent than many of the horses beyond his reach. He’s a 1000-1 long shot, but at least he had the hoofs to get in the gate.
10 George Allen 10 Allen unbelievably dropped down the charts faster than a K-Fed album. It was only a few months ago that the former Congressman, Governor and Senator was in the lead and looking like a horse that would sprint into 2007 with major momentum. Now he’s just a proud member of the Virginia Bar. The Tip Sheet predicted not long ago that Allen could get the macaca off his back and still pursue the White House. Well that just sounds silly now, doesn’t it?
The DEM Horses
Power Ranking The Horse Previous Ranking Momentum The Tip Sheet
1 Hillary Clinton 1 Hillary has occupied this spot since day one of our rankings, but the distance between the 800-pound horse and the field has shrunk considerably. The Tip Sheet calls her the most attractive hypothetical candidate in history. When pollsters call it makes democrats feel progressive and brave to say they’d support her for the nomination. But will they feel the same way when it’s time to pull a lever and put her divisive name at the top of a 50-state ballot? Watch your hindquarters, Hillary, your opponents are closing fast.
2 John Edwards 3 Edwards’ numbers have never been better, and, unlike so many of his GOP counterparts, Edwards has chits to spend after canvassing the country in support of democrats for the last six months. He’s refining his message nicely and appears more deliberate than in ’04. His greatest challenge remains a resume with essentially four entries: Trial Attorney, One-term Senator, Vice-presidential Nominee, Shampoo Model.
3 Barak Obama 2 Is the Obamamania Show already off the schedule? The Tip Sheet has seen Fox sitcoms last longer. It’s indisputable the race for this nomination will boil down to Hillary and a representative of the Anybody But Hillary Party. Obama has work to do if he wants to claim that role and it’s unclear whether he’d run to the right, left or alongside Hillary. In some interviews and speeches he sounds like a moderate, independent voice. In others he sounds like a traditional liberal calling for a pullout of Iraq in 2007 and criticizing John McCain, a very popular voice among independents. Still, whether he runs or not, expect Obama to field VP offers.
4 Bill Richardson 5 Richardson has been steadily moving through the pack since recovering from the gaffe over his professional baseball career, or lack thereof. He’s showing some teeth, getting active online, and his resume is unmatched on the track. Still, some are wondering whether he has the discipline for a two-year national campaign. If he finds his message and rhythm, the Tip Sheet predicts he sticks with the lead horses at least through the fall of ’07.
5 Evan Bayh 4 FLASH: Bayh Spotted Joining Local Chapter of Toastmasters. That’s a good first step, but the charismatically challenged could use a Zig Ziglar seminar as well. Notwithstanding his oratorical skills, he’s an attractive candidate who clearly seeks the Anybody But Hillary tag. He’s been running longer than any democrat besides the front-runner but still registers little passion in the polls. He needs to move to early in ’07 or risk being lapped by the other moderates.
6 Al Gore 8 Gore must be giddier than a 7-year old on a sugar-high at the new Senate makeup. The former VP is sure to lobby hard for new energy policies and the resurrection of the Kyoto Treaty because everyday global warming makes the news Gore gets three phone calls from allies encouraging him to run again. He’s become a one-trick pony, but if global warming heats up enough, Gore could feel emboldened to take another shot. Surely he stands a better chance of earning a second whack at the White House than his chum John Kerry.
7 Wes Clark 7 Clark appears to have entered the Witness Protection Program. Either he’s working his ground game quietly in Iowa and New Hampshire, or he’s closing in on the always-popular announcement that he won’t seek the nomination because he still has “important things to accomplish in private life.” The General still has a small army of loyal online supporters and, should he bow out, his endorsement of another candidate could be worth a small bump to another horse.
8 Howard Dean 9 Dean is still basking in democrats’ House and Senate takeovers. This despite the fact that many key insiders contend they won in spite of Dean, not because of him and his much-publicized 50-state strategy. Nevertheless, watch for the good Doctor use whatever good will he’s riding to stick his foot in and test the waters. Then as the old axiom goes, expect democrats to bite his toes off “with a voracity that has no equal on earth.”
9 Russ Feingold 6 Feingold says he’s out. We’re not sure we buy it. He’s the most liberal horse on the farm and if the far-left doesn’t find a winner with any in the lead-pack, Feingold could easily be Rangled (drafted) back into the race. Stay tuned.
10 John Kerry 10 It says something about Kerry that he’s ranked below a guy who says he isn’t even running. Kerry said his final decision on running won’t be affected by his “botched joke”. Indeed, democrats seem to think his “botched campaign” in ’04 ought to affect his decision just fine, thank you very much. As the incomparable blogger Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post recently noted, it’s been 50 years since democrats gave a presidential loser another shot. (Adlai Stevenson, 1952 and 1956) Ta-ta, John.

Pelosi’s Next Big Call: Rep. Alcee Hastings

District of Columbia To Get A Voting Seat

Clinton Won Easily, but Bankroll Shows the Toll

How To Be Big John

Bush, Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki to Meet in Jordan to Talk Security Situation

Gobble Gobble


Filed Under General on Nov 22 


In the spirit of Thanksgiving, it seemed fit that we take this occasion to award our 1st Annual Big Turkey Award!

On the right, for losing the race he should have won: George Allen! Because his was the seat the GOP needed to keep and because his demise came by his own hand, from macaca comments to salacious novel excerpts, George Allen, we salute you! Gobble, Gobble!

And on the left, for his continuing efforts to show himself off as a Big Turkey: John Kerry! Because he tried his darndest to keep the Republicans in power with his stuck in Iraq comment and because he just doesn’t think his botched joke will affect 2008. John Kerry, we salute you too! Gobble, Gobble!

House Dem’s to Thwart Rangel’s Draft Plan

GOP Leaving Spending Bills to Democrats

Iraq Restores Diplomatic Ties With Syria

McCain Compares Himself with Regan

A new Jim Jeffords?

The Battle Over Judges Continues

Rep. Rangel Will Seek to Reinstate Draft

Kerry: Botched Joke Won’t Affect 2008

The Clinton Battle Plan

No End To Dem Civil War!

Dems Take Aim at Oil Company Tax Breaks

McCain Says More Troops Needed in Iraq

Late last night driving north on Rt. 29 near Warrenton, Virginia I passed this VDOT sign directly drivers around some minor construction to a parking lot entrence that could otherwise be easy to miss.

Senator-elect James Webb isn’t even sitting at his snazzy new desk yet and already the fine Commonwealth of Virginia is suffering under the democrat’s representation. I told you we couldn’t afford to let democrats take control of the Senate! And to think, this guy is a novelist! Are you sure you don’t want a recount, George Allen?

I’m confident this sort of blatant disregard for proper English grammar and, in fact, for the United Kingdom itself, wouldn’t take place under Senator Allen’s watch.


White House contenders quick to take 2008 plunge

With midterms over, all eyes turn to the 2008 presidential race

Clinton top for NY Dems; Giuliani, McCain tied among GOP voters

Edwards withholds plans for presidential run

How to predict an election

Low ceiling on what Democrats can deliver

If Republicans Were Democrats

Poll: Most Doubt Dems Have Plan for Iraq

Barak “Blank” Obama and the Disingenuous Politics of “Understanding”

Operation comforting embrace: Air Force Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt, of the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group at Balad, Iraq, cradles a young girl as they both sleep in the hospital. The girl’s entire family was executed by insurgents; the killers shot her in the head as well. The girl received treatment at the U.S. military hospital in Balad, but cries and moans often. According to nurses at the facility, Gebhardt is the only one who can calm down the girl, so he has spent the last several nights holding her while they both sleep in a chair.

According to ABC News, “His party may have taken “a thumpin’,” in the words of President Bush, but …Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and his political team have decided it’s full steam ahead for his 2008 presidential campaign:

McCain Begins Preliminary White House Run


Howard Dean to Jon Stewart: We Won’t Impeach Bush

RNC asks Steele to replace Mehlman

Only a Minor Earthquake

Team 41 is a Threat to the Bush Legacy

Key Republican joins Dems opposing Bolton nomination

Dems Complete Election Sweep of Congress

Bush, Pelosi to Meet at White House

Bush replaces Rumsfeld to get ‘fresh perspective’

The Welcome Return of Divided Government

The Boys Are Back in Town

Speaker Pelosi

Political Derby will be live this morning on Michigan Talk Radio. Listen to the broadcast live between 7:00 -7:30 am:


Race fans, we know you’re chomping at the bit for updated 2008 power rankings reflecting yesterday’s results. (Hmm, think Allen will drop?) Well as a young man named Drew once said in the Best Worst Movie of all-time, the horror classic Troll II, “Don’t fret!” Updated rankings are on the way…

In the meantime, a note for giddy democrats. You didn’t win on Tuesday, republicans lost. Did they deserve to lose? You betcha. But with only a few exceptions, the seats picked up in the House and Senate were taken by very conservative democrats, guys and gals that know very well they are more closely aligned ideologically with guys like Hastert and Frist than Pelosi and Reid. Watching some of these conservative democrats in the House hold their nose with both hands while voting for Pelosi as Speaker of the House will make for some superdooper TV.

Yes republicans, you should be mourning today. Not because you lost, but because Nancy Pelosi, yes that Nancy Pelosi, the ultra-liberal from SanFran, is going to be two heartbeats from the presidency.

Dubya, Dick, for the love of the republic, take your vitamins.

McCain gains political capital in elections

Bush disappointed at Republicans’ losses

Pelosi expected to be 1st woman speaker

President Bush’s Opening Gambit for Surviving Divided Government

Lieberman defeats Lamont to hold Senate seat

In Virginia, incumbent Republican Sen. George Allen was trailing Democratic challenger Jim Webb

In Montana, Republican incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns was waiting to hear whether he survived a tougher than expected battle with Democratic challenger Jon Tester

All eyes on Montana, Virginia

Steele had said it was too early to concede defeat

Take a look at the documented bias in some exit polling data:

“In The 32 States With Exit Poll Estimates For Both A Presidential Race And A Senate Race The Average Error On The Difference Between The Top Two Candidates Was 5.0 Points In The Democratic Direction For President And 3.6 Points In The Democratic Direction For Senate.” (Edison Media Research And Mitofsky International, “Evaluation Of Edison/Mitofsky Election System 2004 For The National Election Pool,” 1/19/05, p. 20)

  • Iowa: NEP Projected Sen. Kerry Winning By 1% – President Bush Carried Iowa By .7%;
  • Nevada: NEP Projected Sen. Kerry Winning By 1.4% – President Bush Carried Nevada By 2.6%;
  • New Mexico: NEP Projected Sen. Kerry Winning By 4.2%- President Bush Carried New Mexico By .8%;
  • Ohio: NEP Projected Sen. Kerry Winning By 6.5% – President Bush Carried By 2.1%;
  • Virginia: NEP Projected Sen. Kerry Winning By 0.5% – President Bush Carried Virginia By 8.2%.   

And some comments: 

Zogby International’s John Zogby: “I’m not sure that I will ever believe an exit poll again … How could they have been so way off? They were worse than virtually every pre-election poll.” (John Cook, “Early Exit Polls Overstated Kerry Results, Media Group Says,” Chicago Tribune, 1/20/05 

Zogby: “The sum total of what we got today is enough to suggest that there should never be exit polls again.” (Donald Lambro, “Polling Firms Blame Youth, Leaks For Errors,” The Washington Times, 1/20/05)

CNN’s Bill Schneider: “The lesson here is put not your faith in exit polls … particularly if the exit poll is close … Exit polls are designed for analysis. … They are not very good …” (William Douglas, “Turnout: The Early Exit Polls Mostly Wrong,” Detroit Free Press, 11/4/04) 

Then-CNN Anchor Judy Woodruff: “People want to jump on (exit polls) because they are the first little sliver, little shred of evidence … It’s dangerous to seize on those numbers and assume anything – and yet that’s what happened.” (Michelle Mittelstadt, “Exit Poll Group Assailed For Erroneous Early Results,” The Dallas Morning News, 11/4/04) 

Welcome to the latest edition of PoliticalDerby.com’s 2008 Power Rankings, the first tracking service of the next race for the White House. The rankings are updated as circumstances warrant, generally twice a month. The rankings are compiled by our Editor using wire reports, campaign staffer scuttlebutt, and confidential tips. The rankings may not be reprinted or quoted in any form without attribution to PoliticalDerby.com.

Updated November 6, 2006

Power Ranking The Horse Previous Ranking Momentum The Tip Sheet
1 John McCain 1 Perhaps it says something about the GOP when their lead horse is a guy that’s 70, looks 90, and who’s loathed by a vast swath of hard-core activists for his positions on Global Warming and Campaign Finance Reform. McCain leads the pack in every major poll, but it’s unclear whether his support will eventually extend beyond pollsters and newsrooms to primary voters. For now he leads the pack, but the contenders are closing fast.
2 Rudy Giuliani 3 Rudy might be the most attractive hypothetical candidate in history. With his star power and 9/11 legacy, it’s hard to tell a pollster on the phone that you wouldn’t support him. But will conservatives feel the same way when he’s no longer a poll question but an actual candidate with controversial positions on affirmative action, gay rights, abortion, guns, etc? The Tip Sheet predicts Rudy eventually fades, but the rankings are a snapshot of today, and today he’s formidable, hypothetical or not.
3 Mitt Romney 2 Romney scuffed a hoof in recent weeks when the media piled on a story about the appropriateness of his staff using his Mormon and BYU relationships to advance his campaign. It’s unlikely to have a lasting impact, but it underscores his need to run as a Christian Conservative who happens to be Mormon, not the other way around. The good news is that Romney stands to benefit the most from George Allen’s free fall.
4 Newt Gingrich 6 More than one activist has told the Tip Sheet that Gingrich would make the very best president of any Republican on the track. The issue, of course, is that sticky little matter of having to win the nomination and something we call the general election. Newt will probably never be closer to the presidency than when he was Speaker, but that won’t stop him from helping set the terms of the debate.
5 Mike Huckabee 5 Conventional wisdom says that Huck has been running for president for at least two years already. But race fans, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Just wait until January when he’s term-limited out of office and has a huck-of-a-lot less on his menu. He definitely has his eyes on the lead pack, but can he become more than the weight-loss candidate? That’s a pretty thin platform.
6 George Allen 4 Allen hasn’t exactly run a textbook campaign, at least not one on winning, but he’s still likely to run in ’08. Without many to choose from, will conservatives really hold a few campaign blunders against him forever? Despite the missteps, the Tip Sheet thinks he remains a viable candidate. Is there enough time to get the monkey off his back?
7 Bill Frist 7 If Iowa and New Hampshire were countries, Frist might have spent enough time in each to qualify for dual citizenship. He’s running quietly with his eyes squarely fixed on post-Senate life. Ridding himself of the Senate ball and chain could add 10 years to his life and 3 spots up in the power rankings.
8 Mike Pence 9 Congressman Pence has a whisper campaign gaining momentum inside-the-beltway. It’s a stretch to think he can pass the horses ahead of him, but he could be a very attractive VP pick. He’s a conservative darling without much baggage.
9 Condi Rice 8 The more Condi says no, the more her supporters say yes. If Iraq and terrorism remain issues #1 and #2, expect even more pressure on Rice to reconsider running. It won’t happen, but the Tip Sheet thinks a Rice-Obama matchup would be superfunilicious.
10 Duncan Hunter Unranked The largely-unknown Congressman makes the rankings for admitting what 434 other members of the House privately think about themselves. “Hey! I’d make a good president!” He’s a long shot, but the Tip Sheet gives him love for coming out early keepin’ it real.
Power Ranking The Horse Previous Ranking Momentum The Tip Sheet
1 Hillary Clinton 1 The latest unofficial Political Derby poll suggests that Hillary is going to win reelection by an estimated 98-2 percent and will end her Senate campaign with a tad over $2 billion in campaign cash aimed at an ’08 campaign. Much like McCain, Hillary’s lead over the #2 horse is shrinking. She’s still the biggest horse in the field, but she’s becoming less intimidating to her foes.
2 Barak Obama Unranked Like, oh my gosh, have you heard, Obamamania is spreading hotter and faster than a sex scene from a Jim Webb novel. Is he just the ABH (Anybody But Hillary) horse-of-the-month, or will Senator Silky Smooth run in the lead pack deep into 2007? Fortunately the Tip Sheet is willing to ask the one question no one else wants to pose: Would the freshman Senator from Illinois be generating rock-star buzz if he were white? Discuss.
3 John Edwards 2 As one reader told us, Edwards problem isn’t just that he’s an empty suit, he’s an empty $3,000 hand-made Italian suit talking about poverty when the issue is barely a blip on voters’ minds. His one advantage? He polls well, and for that he stays in the lead pack.
4 Evan Bayh 3 Bayh must have felt like he’d been hit by a Mike Tyson right hook (old Tyson, not new Tyson) when he heard Obama tell Tim Russert he was considering a presidential run after all. While Bayh has been around the track much more than Obama, he lacks the Illinois Senator’s charisma, speaking skills, and pulse.
5 Bill Richardson 5 Richardson proves that sometimes you move through a pack of race horses by simply keeping your mouth shut and running your own race. Expect Richardson to bask in the glory of next week’s predicted Dem success in gubernatorial races. As chairman of the DGA he can claim a chunk of credit for helping Dems reverse their state house deficiencies of the last several cycles.
6 Russ Feingold 7 Feingold is doing his share of ground work and putting his ear to the grassroots. He still needs to build his name ID, but look for him to take a heightened role in the new-look Senate come January. He could easily emerge as the first choice of the far-left.
7 Wes Clark 8 Clark seems much less interested in running for president than do his many online supporters. If chat rooms, message boards and fan sites were part of the electoral college, Clark would be set for a Reagan-like landslide. Alas, they’re not, and Clark needs to start translating virtual support to real support.
8 Al Gore Unranked Gore returns to the rankings in large part because Kerry’s hoof-in-mouth disease opened a door. The former VP says he’s not interested, but will he still feel that way this spring if he’s still polling in the top 3? The Tip Sheet predicts an Oscar nom–and perhaps win–for his Global Warming documentary. That ought to keep him in the news.
9 Howard Dean Unranked Dean makes a return to the rankings based on his position as Chairman of the DNC. Many will argue how much credit he deserves for next week’s expected democratic gains, but the fact remains that he sat at the head of the table while democrats finally turned things around.
10 John Kerry 6 The good news is that Kerry broke the record for steepest drop in a single edition of the power rankings. The bad news is that he’s successfully replaced Social Security is the third rail of American politics. No one wants to touch him.

The fine folks at Pew report some late movement towards the GOP in the generic “which party will you vote for” survey question. It may not be enough to save the House, which everyone and their political analyst’s mother suggests is a goner for the GOP, but it could bode well for tight Senate races. (VA, TN in particular)

Republicans Cut Democratic Lead in Campaign’s Final Days