Romney’s leap to the top of the Republican field in the Des Moines Register poll overshadowed another major development from the same survey: Obama edging out Clinton for second place on the Democratic side. Obama’s position is confirmed by the latest Strategic Visions Iowa poll, which has Edwards at 29 percent, Obama at 24 and Clinton at 18. The poll also backs up the mini-surge for Bill Richardson, who gets nine percent.

The assumed frontrunner with universal name recognition is trailing not one, but two single-term senators. It is far too early to write any political obits, but this has got to concern the Clinton camp.

Of all the speculative scenarios for ’08, it’s time to add a new one: a Democratic race without Clinton. It has always been assumed that the nomination will come down to Hillary versus an anti-Hillary candidate. But her chances would be written off if she comes in third – fourth? – in Iowa. Start considering the possibility that going into February, the race could be between Obama and Edwards.

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