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 a reminder, we’ve trimmed the number of ranked horses from 10 to 5. You’ll find the long-odds horses in the “Others receiving votes” category. A public outcry might encourage us to change our minds, but at this stage of the race it seems obvious the bottom tier horses are running for issue advocacy.

And now off to the races!

The DEM Horse Tip Sheet
Rankings last updated: September 17, 2007
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
1 Hillary Clinton Clinton Up Hillary is running strong and demonstrating her husband’s uncanny knack for brushing off controversy. One of her chief bundlers, Prisoner Hsu, decides to break the law, skip bail, run to Colorado, board a train and hug himself until he’s recognized and busted. But did voters care? Negative. No blood. No foul. Political junkies want a battle: Hillary vs. Obama, Kanye vs. 50 Cent, Gore vs. A Weight Loss Program. But right now they’re getting Hillary running virtually unchallenged. (previous ranking: #1)
2 Barack Obama Obama Even Oprahbamafest ’07 was a huge financial success and none of the dough–so far–has been returned because it came from fugitives. With Oprah on his side, Obama could have the widest stance in recorded history and still pull a huge percentage of the womens’ vote. And she couldn’t have shown up at a better time, Oprah is like a get-out-of-jail-free card for Obama’s incompetent foreign policy statements. (previous ranking: #2)
3 John Edwards Edwards Even Edwards has bounced a bit in recent polls, but he’s still so far behind the front-runners they don’t even bother looking over their shoulders anymore. With ideas like his panned International Anti-Terrorism Agency, he’s fast approaching Bill Richardson levels of relevancy. The best news for the media is that Edwards shows no signs of dropping out or giving in, and the longer he runs the crazier he could get. Write it down: John Edwards could be the Mike Gravel of 2012. (previous ranking: #4)
4 Chris Dodd Biden Up The Senator from Connecticut picked up the endorsement from the Fire Fighter’s Union. With that he quickly went from the out-of-focus, white-haired but clean-shaven Santa in the background of debate clips who no one knows, to the out-of-focus white-haired clean-shaven Santa in the background of debate clips who is endorsed by the Fire Fighter’s Union. Still, he displaces Biden in the Top 5, and that must bring the Jolly Senator and his elves great satisfaction. (previous ranking: #6)
5 Bill Richardson Richardson Down If Bill Richardson were any less relevant he’d be Katie Couric. His failure to catch fire, or even a flicker for that matter, is the one of the biggest surprises of Campaign ’08. Then again, when you suggest God wants Iowa to go first on the nomination calendar, maybe you deserve to be mired in the 3% mud. (previous ranking: #3)
Others receiving votes: Joe Biden, Al Gore, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich

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The GOP Horse Tip Sheet
Rankings last updated: September 17, 2007
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
1 Fred Thompson Fred Thompson Up Welcome to the top, Freddy T. He assumes the top spot on the strength of stronger-than-expected poll numbers after his bungled campaign launch. He’s bounced to a 9-point lead over Rudy in daily tracking polls. Clearly his Leno gamble doesn’t seem to have bothered anyone but his green-eyed republican opponents. Still, Fred’s publicly scrutinized performance has been only slightly better than Britney’s fat-dance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Thank goodness Fred wears suits. (previous ranking: #3)
2 Rudy Giuliani Giuliani Down Rudy is still the national leader in the overall poll averages, but his numbers have been mostly stagnant since leveling off in May. He now appears to be running as the presumptive nominee, adopting an ignore-everyone-but-Hillary strategy. Will that work now that Fred is official? And when will he endorse McCain? With all the praise he pours on the Arizona senator, it seems almost inevitable whether Rudy drops out or not. (previous ranking: #2)
3 Mitt Romney Romney Down Ouch. Romney fought his way into first place only to lose it to someone who wasn’t even officially running a month ago. With Mitt’s luck he’ll claw his way back to the top only to have Newt Gingrich enter the race 7 minutes later and knock him right back out again. The “Ames Bump” has disappeared and he’s once again running fourth, behind McCain. But take heart, Heart Throb, you’re still leading Iowa and NH comfortably. (previous ranking: #1)
4 John McCain McCain Up If there’s one thing McCain knows – besides how to chap the hides of conservatives – it’s how to fight. Who would’ve thought that calling a kid a jerk and teasing him about being drafted would be the spark needed to re-ignite his campaign? It’s too early to gauge whether he can recover fully from Immigrationgate, but the crusty old fighter pilot seemingly still knows how to pull up from a nose-dive. (previous ranking: tied for #5)
5 Mike Huckabee Huckabee Down How do you go from an also-ran to a contender? Follow the Huckabee model. How do you go from a contender back to an also-ran? Follow the Huckabee model’s second step: Call for a nation-wide smoking ban. Just because you’ve gotten healthy doesn’t mean the nation, especially Republican primary voters, want to elect Richard Simmons. The party of individual rights is not very likely to elect someone who wants to take the ideas of big city Democratic mayors nationwide. (previous ranking: #4)
Others receiving votes: Sam Brownback, Newt Gingrich, Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo

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