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.

As promised (or threatened) we have trimmed the number of ranked horses from 10 to 5 with Labor Day approaching and the Ames straw poll now behind us. You’ll find the long-odds horses in the “Others receiving votes” category.

Rankings last updated: August 16, 2007

The DEM Horse Tip Sheet
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
1 Hillary Clinton Clinton Up Hillary miraculously avoided the minefield of YearlyKos with only a few boos from the netroots. Playing the chess game of courting the Left-wing lunatic fringe while not alienating the middle better than anyone else, she’s widening her impressive lead in national polls. But her support amongst the Left seems more, “Yeah, sure, fine, whatever” than “I love Hill!” Will that be enough to walk away with the nomination? There’s just no passion in the relationship with her supporters. (Not that Hillary isn’t familiar with passionless relationships. She’s been in one for 32 years.) (previous ranking: #1)
2 Barack Obama Obama Even Obama took nuclear weapons off the table, no matter what, then put them back, sort of. Also said he would attack an ally, risking putting Pakistan’s nuclear weapons into the hands of those sworn to destroy us. Obama is the recipient of the most pointless and offensive question thus far in campaign 2008. “Are you black enough?” But lately the more appropriate question is, “Are you competent enough?” (previous ranking: #2)
3 Bill Richardson Richardson Even Richardson is on the rise only if measured against Edwards’ fall. He has managed to avoid most of the pitfalls that trip also-rans and in the process is looking like a savvy VP choice. But to remain on the short list he has to avoid his penchant for pandering. Eyes rolled statewide when Richardson told the media he would rank Iowa in the top 10 of terrorist targets. Even the terrorist cells holed up in Iowa don’t know where Iowa is. (previous ranking: #3)
4 John Edwards Edwards Even Rumors are swirling that Edwards has a lucrative new book deal: From Frontrunner to Also-ran in Three Simple Steps. One, build the largest house in North America. Two, get haircuts that cost more than most people spend on haircuts during their entire lives. Three, demonize Wal-Mart while purchasing a PlayStation 3 from … wait for it … Wal-Mart. Take these steps while talking about two Americas, one rich, one poor, and you’re guaranteed to be hit with charges of insincerity, as was the case with his home state’s largest newspaper. Sounds like a bestseller. (previous ranking: #4)
5 Joe Biden Biden Even Joe Biden, aka the first person ever to run for Secretary of State in a presidential primary. Not nearly crazy enough to win support of the DailyKos crowd, he was the only Democrat candidate to avoid kissing the ring of the netroots. Biden comes across in the debates as the most level-headed of the Democrats running, which is like being the most sober pop star; you’re still drunk. Is it difficult to relate to average Americans when you’ve been a Senator since the age of 29? (previous ranking: #5)
Others receiving votes: Christopher Dodd, Al Gore, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich

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The GOP Horse Tip Sheet
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
1 Mitt Romney Romney Up Mitt met expectations, not an easy thing to do in take-no-prisoners politics, and won the Ames Straw Poll big. But everyone knows he was the only major candidate taking it seriously. Polling very well in Iowa and New Hampshire, but still dragging nationally. If he can’t find a way to become known to the nation more for his policies than his religion, he has potential next January to bomb bigger than Daddy Day Camp. Yes, he’s raised a lot of money, but he can’t afford to keep spending more than $400 per vote, especially when those votes don’t matter. (previous ranking: #3)
2 Rudy Giuliani Giuliani Down Rudy skipped Iowa, which is probably an indication of his future fate there. But he still leads in the polls almost everywhere else and his no-show in Ames may not damage him as much as a poor showing certainly would have. It’s time for America’s Mayor to become comfortable with what he did do on 9/11 so he’ll stop getting baited into claiming credit for things he didn’t do on 9/11. His biggest asset is starting to reveal albatross potential. (previous ranking: #1)
3 Fred Thompson Fred Thompson Down Freddy T’s flirtation with running served him well for months, but his fans are growing tired of waiting for him to ask their hand in marriage. He’s waited so long that his real wife is getting more media attention than he is and he’s had more campaign leadership shuffles than anyone in history who hasn’t officially joined the campaign. It’s time to put up or shut up, or he runs risk of arriving at the altar alone. (previous ranking: #2)
4 Mike Huckabee Huckabee Up The only person not surprised by Huckabee’s showing in the straw poll is Huckabee himself. Finishing second, while only spending $58 per vote, is a terrific showing for someone the media has been considering an also-ran from Day One. Surely Giuliani’s decision not to participate helped, but so have his stellar showings in the debates. If there is an argument to be made for so many debates so early, Huckabee is it. But he would be the only argument for so many debates so early. (And there is no argument, period, for having Chris Matthews or Keith Olbermann hosting debates no matter how early they are.) (previous ranking: #5)
5 John McCain McCain Down Yes, McCain is still running … this time away from his stance on immigration reform. His switch on a key GOP issue seems too little too late to regain traction or track position. Even the rock thrown in the pond by Mike Gravel didn’t sink to the bottom this fast. And when you lose the straw poll to Duncan Hunter you know that pain in your butt is a fork. (previous ranking: tied for #4)
Others receiving votes: Sam Brownback, Newt Gingrich, Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo

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