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 and contributors using wire reports, polls, campaign staffer scuttlebutt and confidential tips.

Rankings last updated: June 6, 2007

The DEM Horse Tip Sheet
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
1(tie) Barack Obama Obama Even Obama hangs on to a tie at the top, but his mediocre debate performances are unlikely to give him much of a boost. His key objective now is a huge fundraising month in June to show he’s no first-quarter fluke. In the meantime, his assignment before the next debate is to get better with 30-second answers. Obama shines in lengthy speeches, but his sound bites are so long they make Joe Biden look like a verbal economist. (previous ranking: #1)
1(tie) Hillary Clinton Clinton Even Hillary is right where she wants to be. She has a healthy lead in the national poll averages, but isn’t so far ahead that she’s the only target. After the recent debate it’s obvious she’s seen polling that suggests invoking her husband’s name scores points with likely primary voters. She’s practically become his campaign manager for UN Ambassador and already has packed his bags for that relationship-mending world tour she keeps promising. Let’s just hope she includes clean whitey tighties and some Valtrex. (previous ranking: #1)
3(tie) John Edwards Edwards Even Edwards has name ID to kill for, a well-oiled campaign machine that’s nearly five years old, the hair of a Just for Men model, and the poll numbers of a second-tier candidate. This, political junkies, is what therapists are for. He’s clinging to a tie for third based on a lead in Iowa and a very strong performance in the last debate, but he can’t be thrilled with trailing Al Gore in the national polls. (previous ranking: #3)
3(tie) Al Gore Gore Up Just when you think Gore will ride off on his Ethanol powered space ship, he reminds us that the door on a 2008 campaign isn’t quite closed. Buzz over his new book release has Al and Tipper once again sharing familiar political pillow talk. Every night he turns and lovingly asks, “So, do I have one more in me?” Gore is the only candidate that could afford to sit out this long, but he’s down to 4-6 weeks, tops, to make a move. (previous ranking: #7)
5 Bill Richardson Richardson Down Governor Richardson, who we’ve heard serves as governor of New Mexico, has been teasing analysts for weeks with his potential to join the top-tier horses. So far the governor has failed to deliver much besides constant reminders that he’s the governor of New Mexico. The lousy showing at the last debate by Governor Richardson, governor of New Mexico, ranks as one of the biggest surprises thus far in the 2008 derby. (previous ranking: #4)
6 Joe Biden Biden Up No one could ever accuse Joe Biden of being just a show horse. Every time he gets on a debate stage he reminds people that if there were an award given for Winner Among Those Without a Snowball’s Chance of Ever Becoming President, Senator Biden would be the guy. No one doubts Biden is passionate and truly cares, but he’s still destined to be a Senate lifer. (previous ranking: #6)
7 Chris Dodd Dodd Down Senators Dodd and Biden have been nearly indistinguishable — until now. Dodd now seems out of place next to everyone above him. He may raise enough money in Q2 to keep trotting around the track, but he’s running in Biden’s second-tier shadow. (previous ranking: #5)
8 Dennis Kucinich Kucinich Even Kucinich has proven a surprisingly strong debater, but sometimes he looks like a trick carnival pony when standing on stage next to the other horses. The unhandled, unspun Kucinich believes every word he utters. And that’s precisely why he’ll never sniff the White House. (previous ranking: #8)
9 Mike Gravel Gravel Even It’s hard not to like Mike Gravel. He is fed up with the system and wouldn’t know a political consultant if one danced nude during shuffleboard time. The former Senator reminds each of us of the crazy Uncle who’s only permitted to attend family reunions on the condition he take his meds. Which, as we learned in the last debate, he gets without incident from the VA. (previous ranking: unranked)
10 Rosie O’Donnell Rosie Up With Wes Clark finally out of the rankings, symmetry required a new horse to enter the field. Who better than the now unemployed Rosie O’Donnell? She may not have a good head on her shoulders, but if ever there was a horse’s behind… (previous ranking: unranked)
Others receiving votes: Wes Clark

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The GOP Horse Tip Sheet
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
1(tie) Rudy Giuliani Giuliani Even Rudy is no longer alone at the top. His national numbers are still enviable – he averages a double digit lead – but according to the most recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, the percentage of Republicans who definitely will not vote for Giuliani has jumped from less than a quarter to 33-percent. Now comes the news that Rudy will skip the Iowa straw poll, a major barometer of support and an important stepping stone to winning the caucus. Will Iowans feel left at the alter? Yes, so expect the mayor’s numbers to slip. (previous ranking: #1)
1(tie) Mitt Romney Romney Up Romney isn’t lighting up the national surveys, but his state numbers are on the rise. He now leads in Iowa and New Hampshire and he’s expected to post another huge number when Q2 fundraising totals are released the first of July. He still has sizable hurdles, including new numbers suggesting that 30-percent of republicans are remain less likely to support a Mormon, but most insiders including veteran political operative Ben Affleck no longer consider him a dark horse. (previous ranking: tied for #2)
3(tie) John McCain McCain Even McCain’s aura of inevitability as the establishment candidate has been officially tossed to the ash heap of history. But his latest debate performance finally gave voters, particularly in New Hampshire, a reminder of what they loved about McCain version 2.000. Either you admire him for standing firm on the immigration issue in spite of overwhelming opposition from within his own party, or you call his legislation further evidence that he’s not a conservative. Either way at least we know he’ll call us “friends” 42 times per debate. (previous ranking: tied for #2)
3(tie) Fred Thompson Fred Thompson Up Fred is in an enviable position. As an unannounced exploratory candidate this actor doesn’t have to show his Racing Stripes or stand In the Line of Fire. But he obviously wasn’t Born Yesterday and knows that the day he officially enters the race he faces Barbarians at the Gate. Will we soon hear from many DC-area women that asked Fred to Stay the Night during his years in the Senate? (previous ranking: #4)
5 Mike Huckabee Huckabee Up Huckabee ought to be lobbying for more debates. Perhaps no one has been more consistently impressive on stage. He’s smooth and sincere and looks the part of a serious GOP presidential contender. His hurdle is that he couldn’t get arrested in IA, NH or SC. His polls numbers are lower than Paris Hilton’s blood alcohol level. (previous ranking: #6)
6 Newt Gingrich Gingrich Down It seems Newt has developed a habit of appearing on television minutes after Fred Thompson to remind us that he, too, could jump into the race. The difference is that Fred doesn’t chastise America for being interested in the race this early. Newt thinks anyone either running or following the campaigns this far out is an idiot. He’s still polling well, but his act is growing old. (previous ranking: #5)
7 Sam Brownback Brownback Even Brownback has become the poster child for second-tier candidates. He’s taken more seriously than the bottom-tier horses below him, but no number of eloquent responses on evolution or abortion will move him to the big time. He likely sticks it out until the Iowa straw poll in August, but then it’s back to the Senate. (previous ranking: #7)
8 Duncan Hunter Hunter Even Hunter has quickly become the one candidate you’d most like to have a rootbeer with after a long day at the office. He knows the issues and doesn’t look or sound controlled by high-priced political consultants. He won’t win, but he might have the best shot of the dark horses to last past Labor Day. (previous ranking: #8)
9 Tom Tancredo Tancredo Up Tancredo couldn’t have asked for better timing. The issue that has long kept him up at night, immigration, is dominating the debate both on stage and on the trail. Admit it, there have been points during the debates when you expected Tancredo to point at the moderator and yell, “You want me on that wall! You need me on that wall!” (previous ranking: unranked)
10 Ron Paul Paul Up We’re willing to go out on a limb here, Dr. Paul is never going to be elected president of the United States. But in his quest for the GOP nomination, he’s winning a surprising number of fans for giving voice to hardcore conservatives who feel left out of the process. If debate watchers think Ron Paul is the only republican who would abolish the IRS or wishes we’d never gone to war in Iraq, they are sorely mistaken.
Others receiving votes: Jim Gilmore, the other Thompson

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