Welcome to the latest edition of PoliticalDerby.com’s 2008 Power Rankings, the original tracking service in the current 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.

Last updated on March 12, 2007

The DEM Horse Tip Sheet
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
Hillary Clinton Clinton Hillary’s had better months. Her once commanding lead has been sliced in half since her January in-it-to-win-it announcement and her campaign went nuclear in the David Geffen drama when a simple sniper would have done nicely. Fortunately her lead is still double digits, she continues to benefit from an old-school political machine that’s to die for, and she’s still married to the first black President. But look closely, race fans, this horse is sweating like Eddie Murphy in a fatsuit. (previous ranking: #1)
Barack Obama Obama Senator Obama couldn’t have prayed for a better story than David Geffengate. The drama opened some democrats’ eyes and prompted Clintonites from coast-to-coast to wonder what the definition of “inevitable” is. While Hillary ‘s margin among white voters has been consistent, take note of Obama’s growing support among blacks. A January poll showed that blacks favored Hillary by a whopping 60-20 margin. But a recent ABC-Washington Post poll has Obama now leading 44-33. Go ahead. read that again, that’s a 51-point swing. (previous ranking: #2)
John Edwards Edwards So that’s what momentum looks like. Edwards has been stumbling since the second Obama and Hillary announced their campaigns. Who would have guessed Edwards would find his mojo hiding at FoxNews? The skirmish over the now-cancelled Nevada debate, fueled by Edwards’ decision to skip it, has breathed life into his stalled campaign and re-energized his loyalists. Still, the very latest surveys of the party faithful have him doubled up by Obama 24%-12%. Ouch. (previous ranking: #3)
Bill Richardson Richardson Richardson just wrapped up his first trip to Iowa and reports from the track suggest that despite his tardiness to their fair state, he was very well received. He barely registers in the polls, but the Derby’s ridiculously early start time gives him the one resource the leaders can’t horde: time. If Richardson can raise enough money to keep staff in place and fuel in the plane, he poses the biggest threat to join the three-headed monster: Clintbamards. (previous ranking: #4)
Al Gore Gore No one has ever relished the role of potential candidate more than Al Gore. He’s still smiling from his Academy Award win and there are unconfirmed reports that he snuggles with his Oscar statuette at night. Gore is the one horse who can afford to wait before taking the plunge, but the clock is ticking. Enjoy it, Mr. Veep, you haven’t been this popular or relevant since inventing the Internet. (previous ranking: #10)
Chris Dodd Dodd Senator Dodd will no-doubt raise a few eyebrows when first quarter fundraising reports come in at the end of March. He’s rumored to be raising money at a surprising clip for a second-tier horse. He might have been voted Most Likely to Succeed in high school, but was he voted Most Likely to Break the Senate Curse by Winning the White House? Doubtful. (previous ranking: #7)
Joe Biden Biden Clearly Biden is still recovering from his “articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy” brain malfunction. The Tip Sheet hears his stump speech is very impressive, but almost no one is listening. He’s reportedly drawing very meager crowds. Is that because he unintentionally offended some African Americans, or just because he’s Joe Biden? (previous ranking: #5)
Dennis Kucinich Kucinich Congressman Kucinich’s anti-war message makes him more popular with the grassroots than his ranking would indicate. He’s the only democrat running who doesn’t have to apologize for voting neither for the war nor its funding. He can’t win, but that shouldn’t keep America from dreaming of a First Lady Elizabeth Kucinich. Vavavoom! (previous ranking: #8)
Wes Clark Clark Clark’s most recent comment on 2008 was, “I haven’t said I’m not running.” The General has impressively raised his profile of late by becoming a vocal and leading opponent of the Bush administration’s approach to Iran. But no one likes an indecisive General. Unless he makes a decision very soon, there will be no one left to raise his money and fetch his bottled water. (previous ranking: #9)
Mike Gravel Gravel is so old he makes Jimmy Carter look like a college cheerleader. That’s all we got, sorry Gravel fans. At least he’s ranked and has a green arrow. Baby steps, people, baby steps. (previous ranking: unranked)

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The GOP Horse Tip Sheet
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
Rudy Giuliani Giuliani Rudy is giving “surge” a whole new meaning, and it’s proving to be considerably more popular than Bush’s version. In the past month the former mayor has picked up ten points while McCain has dropped six. Rudy now leads 44-21. So begins the waiting game. Which horse will be the first to beat Rudy’s over the head with his sizable skeletons? (previous ranking: #1)
tie Mitt Romney Romney Romney had a surprisingly strong showing in the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll, taking first over Rudy, Brownback and Gingrich. He’s also just come out as the top choice in an LA Times survey of RNC insiders. However, all this mojo is muted by his inability to crack double digits in the major polls. Time is on his side, but he can’t be stuck 40 points behind Rudy forever. At some point those fat checks from donors will disappear faster than a Taylor Hicks album. (previous ranking: #3)
tie John McCain McCain Senators McCain and Clinton have more in common than meets the eye. Both are suffering from a nasty case of frontrunneritis. It’s tough to run an entire race from the lead, and he’s slowed enough in recent weeks to let Rudy fly right by. If McCain wants to regain momentum, he might start by firing the staffer who suggested that skipping CPAC was a good idea. Nevertheless, he’s still the establishment favorite with impressive endorsements, talented staff, and the benefit of knowing that he’s been tested on this stage. Rudy and Romney have not. (previous ranking: #2)
Mike Huckabee Huckabee Huckabee impressed at CPAC with a generally well-received speech. While he doesn’t have to apologize or spin his positions on issues like abortion, gay rights, gun rights and free speech, he does have a sizable hurdle of his own. According to conservatives in-the-know, his record as a tax-hiker in Arkansas could doom him. They were burned with Bush 41 and could be reluctant to make the same mistake. (previous ranking: #5)
Newt Gingrich Gingrich Following Newt’s movements at CPAC was easy, just look for the throng of fans trailing him through the hotel lobby. Students love him, conservative old-schoolers still carry mini-versions of his Contract with America in their breast pockets, and even the other horses admire his intellect and sense of vision. Can he win? Not in 2008. But as one conservative icon told the Tip Sheet, we can put Newt at the top of the 2012 rankings right now. (previous ranking: #6)
Sam Brownback Brownback Brownback could have invaded Maryland with all the supporters his campaign brought to CPAC. For all the talk about Romney’s efforts, Brownback’s team was a close second in both numbers and buzz. He is remarkably popular with the college crowd, and his third place showing in the straw poll is encouraging. The Tip Sheet has suggested that one of these Senator horses put all their manure on the table and leave the Senate to run full-time from outside the beltway. Could Brownback be the one? (previous ranking: #4)
Duncan Hunter Hunter Hunter must be smiling at his surprising showing in the much-publicized South Carolina straw poll. He came in third, but just 6 votes behind winner John McCain. Could this give him momentum? Can he raise enough money to compete? Can he raise his national name ID above zero? (previous ranking: #7)
Tommy Thompson Thompson Thompson has had difficulty finding any traction during the early stages of the race. The Tip Sheet predicts Thompson could be the first GOPer to leave the race and hop on another horse. (previous ranking: #8)
Jim Gilmore Gilmore While the other candidates spent much of their time in the greenroom and in various receptions, former Virginia Governor Gilmore worked the lobby, the hallways, and the hotel’s restaurant. Gilmore was everywhere introducing himself and his candidacy. Given this effort, his lackluster performance in the straw poll was one of the weekend’s bigger surprises. (previous ranking: #9)
Ron Paul There are good bets, long shots, and Ron Paul. Welcome to the rankings, Congressman. Today he’s just a bli in the national polls–he aspires to be a full blip–but he does boast a very active online fan base. (previous ranking: unranked)
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