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 February 9, 2007

The DEM Horses
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
Hillary Clinton Clinton Just when we thought Hillary was losing ground (and her voice) after so-so performances in Iowa and New Hampshire, the very latest polls have her crushing Edwards and Obama. In those respective states Hillary has healthy double-digit leads. Nationally she’s on solid ground as well, holding a 16-point lead over Obama and a whopping 24-point lead over Edwards. FREE TIP TO ALL CANDIDATES: The skinny metal pole attached to the podium with a cute fuzzy thing on the top is a microphone. They are often used in modern-day campaigns to project your voice to the crowd staring at you. Assume it’s on. (previous ranking: #1)
Barack Obama Obama Obama continues to assemble an impressive team including a surprising number of former Clinton allies who are putting their chips on the one-term IL senator. Despite trailing Hillary in the polls, he is still generating more buzz than Lindsey Lohan on a rehab field-trip. The first big test will come shortly when he shares the stage at candidate forums with horses like Clinton and Richardson and has to address the experience factor. Namely, that he has none. (previous ranking: #2)
John Edwards Edwards The good news for Edwards is that he’s firmly in the lead pack. His problem is that he’s already a well-known commodity with a well-established platform. Edwards has nothing left to define. His choir-boy strategy may have to turn negative in order to sway Obama and Hillary supporters. Perhaps he could offer a voter sleepover in his new 28,000 square foot home/Sam’s Club/indoor football stadium? (previous ranking: #3)
Bill Richardson Richardson If this were a draft, say a baseball draft for example, Governor Richardson would be a player with oodles of upside. He has nothing to lose by running and, like it or not, his skin color will keep him within shouting distance for a long time. If you’ve got money burning a hole in your trousers, put some on Richardson. (previous ranking: #4)
Joe Biden Biden Biden’s big yapper is both his greatest weakness and his greatest strength. His recent and very bizarre interview, you know the one, revealed a politician willing to be surprisingly honest and ridiculously foolish. Voters might connect with his brutal, unvarnished assessments of the other candidates, Iraq and other issues. They might also not ever hear anything he says because he’s got his giant loafers shoved halfway down his throat. (previous ranking: #5)
Tom Vilsack Vilsack Vilsack is running fourth in Iowa – his home state. He’s 23 points behind a candidate, Hillary, who’s made exactly one visit there. If Vilsack can’t climb into the top two by Labor Day, at the very latest, he’ll have donors and allies advising him to quit the race and back another horse. (previous ranking: #6)
Chris Dodd Dodd Why is Dodd running? What does he think he can offer than the other 9 horses can’t? Why is he wearing eye glasses that were popular in 1989? (previous ranking: #7)
Dennis Kucinich Kucinich If you’re not jazzed for the debates, if you’re not giddy at the prospect of Kucinich accusing his fellow horses of not being socialist enough, then you’re not the political junkie we thought you were. Feel the shame. (previous ranking: #8)
Wes Clark Clark Every now and then Clark makes some strange statement on ’08 that requires a Lucky Charms secret-decoder ring to decipher. So until he rules it out, we think he’s trying to convince himself he can actually win this time. Please, allow us. You can’t. (previous ranking: #9)
Al Gore Gore Gore is the man of the hour: Oscar nomination, nobel peace prize nomination, allegedly found a $20 bill in the back pocket of his favorite Wranglers. Much like Clark, we worry that not ruling it out means he’s finding a way to rule it in. Al, if you’re really not interested, find a camera, look into it, and tell us you will absolutely not be a candidate for president. We dare you. We double dog dare you. (previous ranking: unranked)


The GOP Horses
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
Rudy Giuliani Giuliani Congratulations Rudy, you finally look like you want to be president! After many months of acting as if he might once again pull out and leave supporters standing at the alter, Rudy finally looks committed to the race. He is surging in the polls and some republicans are buying Rudy’s theory that his conservative judicial philosophy and commitment to appointing judges like Roberts, Alito and Scalia trumps his personal positions on the hot-button social issues. Can he keep the belly-fire lit for another 18 months? (previous ranking: #2)
John McCain McCain Four years ago McCain ran like Tom Cruise’s super-cool Maverick. He was the risk-taking, anti-establishment, fly-below-the-hard-deck candidate. Now he looks more like Val Kilmer’s Ice Man. If he were any more establishment he’d be riding an elephant to his senate office. Time to consider giving up his senate seat and push all his horse chips to the middle? (previous ranking: #1)
Mitt Romney Romney Romney’s numbers are looking up. His favorability number is on the rise and he’s now reliably fourth behind Rudy, McCain and a guy not actually running (Newt). That puts him comfortably in the top-three. And considering his name ID is still low nationally, he must feel confident about finally polling in the double digits. Romney’s first big test will be his upcoming summit of invited Christian leaders. Romney is expected to make his case for how being a Mormon shouldn’t disqualify him as a viable conservative candidate. (previous ranking: #3)
Sam Brownback Brownback Raise your hand if you’ve given money to Senator Brownback’s exploratory committee. Anyone? Bueller, Bueller? We know the conservative darling is running because he has a snazzy web site, but he’s not generating much buzz, particularly in the endorsement game. His campaign’s first FEC finance reports should be interesting. Can he raise even half what the big three are raking in? (previous ranking: #4)
Mike Huckabee Huckabee Huck is in, but if he’d been any later to the party they would have made him the designated driver. He has a compelling story, southern charm, and he doesn’t have that dreaded day job of McCain and Brownback. His steeplechase hurdle could be his record on taxes in Arkansas. If he spins that effectively and can keep pace in the fundraising chase, he’s a horse to watch. (previous ranking: #7)
Newt Gingrich Gingrich What does it say about the field that a man who’s not even running is polling third in Iowa and New Hampshire? He won’t win the nomination because his negatives outweigh his rave-winning proposals. He also won’t win the nomination because, well, because he ain’t runnin’ for the nomination. Come on, Newt, throw your hooves in the mix. We need you. (previous ranking: #5)
Duncan Hunter Hunter Hunter is threatening to move into the second tier of horses. He’s sharp on the trail and he’s right on the issues the republican base holds near and dear. Still, Hunter has three simple problems: Money, Name ID, and Money. He needs to raise a lot of cash to raise his name ID. Raising his name ID will help raise more dough. Simple enough. (previous ranking: #8)
Tommy Thompson Thompson Thompson recently promised to spend one day out of every seven in Iowa until the first votes are cast in 2008. That will certainly help, provided he’s also spending time at the bank making fat deposits. Despite his time as Governor and Secretary of HHS, Thompson is an unknown to many donors and voters. It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. The upcoming candidate forums are crucial to his viability. (previous ranking: #6)
Jim Gilmore Gilmore Gilmore could walk down the street in a Speedo and purple cowboy hat and no one would notice. Since announcing his exploratory committee, the former VA governor and RNC chief has been so far under radar his own advisors have issued an APB. Time to hit the track, Sir, or you’ll be run over by the horses as they lap you. (previous ranking: #9)
John Cox Cox You may not know him, but this Illinois businessman has been running for the GOP nomination since March of 2006. Like every other horse besides Rudy, Cox claims to be the “only true Conservative running for president.” We dig your energy, John, but you’ve got about the same odds of winning the White House as Rex Grossman. For your first elected office, why not shoot a little lower than leader of the free world? Doesn’t your neighborhood have a homeowners’ association? (previous ranking: unranked)

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