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

Last updated on January 19, 2007

The DEM Horses
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
horse Hillary Clinton Clinton Have you seen the new bumper sticker on Hillary’s hybrid? It says: CAUTION: Objects in mirror are closer than they appear. The distance between Hillary and Obama is thinner than Bill’s late-night alibis. Two new Zogby polls actually have Hillary trailing Obama in Iowa and New Hampshire. For now she retains her #1 position, but if she continues running her campaign from 30,000 feet and refuses to spend time in the early key states, this could be her last hurrah as the lead horse. (previous ranking: #1)
horse Barack Obama Obama On January 22, 2006, Obama told Tim Russert on Meet the Press that he would serve out his first senate term and would not run for president in 2008. Since then he’s become intoxicated by media buzz and has catapulted through the field of horses from a million-to-1 long shot to a contender. Can he convince democrats he can win nationally? Can he make a case that less one full senate term is sufficient experience to be leader of the free world? Can he campaign for 21 months without anyone knowing his middle name is Hussein? (previous ranking: #3)
horse John Edwards Edwards Edwards, America’s favorite filthy rich trial lawyer and poverty spokesman, hasn’t been sleeping well recently. Once the clear front-runner to become the ABH (Anybody But Hillary) candidate, the senator must now contend with the shooting-star Obama, the only candidate with less experience than Edwards. But while he tosses and turns about how to keep from losing the rest of his mojo, he can take solace in his lead in Iowa, where he now qualifies for in-state tuition. (previous ranking: #2)
horse Bill Richardson Richardson Richardson has pledged to make a decision by the end of the month. If he’s in, the governor becomes an immediate top-tier horse. Because as every astute race fan knows, racing toward 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is a heckuva lot easier from the state house than the Senate, where they allegedly serve embalming fluid in the soda fountain. (previous ranking: #4)
horse Tom Vilsack Vilsack Vilsack is inexplicably running third in his home state of Iowa. Why isn’t he higher given his impressive resume? Is he too Al Gore (stiff)? Is he too John Kerry (flaky)? Is he too Howard Dean (borderline insane)? He needs to establish some momentum in a hurry or he’s going to be lapped after the first debates this spring. (previous ranking: #5)
horse Joe Biden Biden Biden is struttin’ his stuff as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The good news for his campaign team is that he’s more visible than ever. The bad news for the rest of us is that he’s more visible than ever. Let this be a warning to Capitol Hill cameramen and photographers, Biden is coming after you at full-speed and he’s wearing makeup. Protect yourselves. (previous ranking: #6)
horse Chris Dodd Dodd Dodd also has a plum new assignment. He’s the new Chairman of the powerful Senate Banking Committee. That means plenty of face time as he convenes as many media-friendly hearings as possible. Frankly, Dodd will need a good dose of luck to rise much further in the rankings. How about a good old-fashioned sex scandal involving every horse ahead of him? Or maybe not. (previous ranking: #9)
horse Wes Clark Clark Clark has about 14 more seconds to decide whether he’s running or not. He waited in 2004 until the last minute and it cost him. With so many horses already declared, he’s got to start galloping–now. (previous ranking: #7)
horse John Kerry http://politicalderby.com/images/headshot_kerry.jpg Kerry is tied with Dennis Kucinich. What more can we say? (previous ranking: #10)
horse Dennis Kucinich Kucinich Kucinich is tied with John Kerry. At least he’s not in 10th all by himself! (previous ranking: #8)

Other DEM horses receiving votes: Howard Dean (warming up his vocal cords?), Al Gore (why won’t he rule it out?), Mark Warner (cold feet about his cold feet?)
The GOP Horses
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
John McCain McCain McCain is rumored to be courting Mormons in Arizona to blunt the Romney Effect. Think he’s nervous? To his credit, he’s taken a huge gamble by supporting the so-called “troop surge” so energetically. Will it pay off? Can he continue mending fences with the religious right? Can he keep pace with Romney’s fundraising machine? Will someone please send him a case of Coppertone Sunless Tanning Lotion? (previous ranking: #1)
Rudy Giuliani Giuliani Rudy’s missing playbook story fizzled faster than a Mentos – Diet Coke rocket. Plus he scored a major coup by signing former Congressman Jim Nussle to his campaign team. Nussle was a Romney target and his alliance with Rudy, while uninteresting to 99.9% of Americans, is intriguing to race fans. Rudy has some momentum, now he just needs to make a decision and begin explaining away his liberal ideology to grassroots conservatives. (previous ranking: #3)
Mitt Romney Romney Romney has probably taken YouTube off his “favorites” list. His “abortion should be safe and legal” clip from a 1994 debate with Ted Kennedy is being viewed about as frequently as that delightful video of Twiggy the Water-skiing Squirrel. Bet Romney never wished he could make the religion issue front page news again. On that note, sources say to watch for a major speech on his faith in the next month. (previous ranking: #2)
Sam Brownback Brownback Brownback was recently asked by Steve Gill, a popular radio host in Tennessee, if he saw a president when he looked in the mirror. His answer was “no.” He went on with an uninspiring answer that left listeners thinking one thing: If you don’t see a president, why the heck should we? (previous ranking: #4)
Newt Gingrich Gingrich Gingrich still lots of great ideas, oodles of grassroots admirers, and he’s more popular on the speaking circuit than Tony Robbins. But as long as he sticks to his commitment to decide in September whether or not to run, he’s hit a ceiling in the Power Rankings. (previous ranking: #5)
Tommy Thompson Thompson Thompson’s logging serious miles in his Iowa and New Hampshire rental cars. He’s interviewing staff, wooing state party leaders and displaying more interest and energy than anyone expected. He’s still stuck in the middle of the pack, but a key endorsement or two could vault him as high as #4. (previous ranking: #7)
Mike Huckabee Huckabee Huckabee needs to do that potty word or get off the you-know-what. If he thinks he can wait until this summer to make a decision, then there’s a reason his last political job will be his last political job. It’s time for Huck to run or retire to the stud farm. Yuck. (previous ranking: #6)
Duncan Hunter Hunter Hunter must be paying the bill for his supporters’ Internet access. The Tip Sheet gets more Hunter email than for any other horse. True, it remains a mystery that the Congressman actually thinks he can win, but he gets kudos for being so bold. It’s a shame he’ll never win, he just might make a good president. (previous ranking: #8)
Jim Gilmore Gilmore Gilmore also generates more online buzz than one might expect. Whether that’s legit or manufactured is yet to be seen. Keep your eyes on his first fundraising report. That should reveal whether his candidacy is finding traction or slipping in the mud. The Tip Sheet predicts the latter. (previous ranking: #9)
Mike Pence Pence Pence has hovered at the bottom for some time now and the chatter from the Hill about a possible campaign has diminished considerably in recent weeks. So as Cuba Gooding once told a pre-crazy Tom Cruise in the classic film Jerry Maguire, “You are hanging on by a very thin thread and I dig that about you!” Say adios to the rankings, Mike, you had a nice run while it lasted. (previous ranking: #10)
Other GOP horses receiving votes: George Allen (please reconsider, we beg of you), Chuck Hagel (we got nothing), George Pataki (yikes), Mark Sanford, (yes, we still think the SC governor is draftable), Tom Tancredo (should take Pence’s place in next edition of the rankings)


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