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.

And now off to the races!

The DEM Horse Tip Sheet
Rankings last updated: November 5, 2007
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
1 Hillary Clinton Clinton Down Hillary is still out in front of the pack. But she didn’t just stumble at the last debate, she fell on her face and swallowed three pounds of dirt. The rumble of Obama and Edwards galloping behind her seems to have put her on edge and democrats must be wondering if she can’t handle the pressure in a democratic debate, how will she fare under much more heat from the GOP during the general election? In a matter of 90 minutes Hillary went thick skin to easy bleeder. (previous ranking: #1)
1 Hillary Clinton Clinton Down In the past, Hillary occupied two or three of the top positions because of her commanding lead. This round she needs two slots because she’s riding two horses. Debate watchers saw her standing astride two thoroughbreds with one foot on each saddle. One horse is racing for the far-left base of the party while the other one heads for the middle. It’s tough to balance like that and still ride fast enough to stay ahead of the competition. (previous ranking: #1)
3 Barack Obama Obama Down Barack has hit his stride and is discovering that anti-Hillary momentum might carry him past the verbal miscues. He’s said several bone-headed things lately, but thus far a smile and a wave makes everything peachy again. Though Hillary’s universally panned debate loss gave Obama an extra burst of energy, he’s still not a good bet to overtake her. But at least he’s making things interesting again. (previous ranking: #4)
4 John Edwards Edwards Down College for everyone! Health care for everyone! Cotton candy for everyone! Edwards is littering the track with promises and sound bites. Then when he’s not describing a new entitlement, he’s explaining why he’s the real alternative to Hillary. The fact that he can’t even see Hillary from where he is on the track doesn’t seem to matter. Still, every bad day for Hillary is a good day for Edwards. (previous ranking: #5)
5 Bill Richardson Richardson Down Richardson gets a bump because Hillary came back to the pack in recent weeks. But the governor needs to do more than lope around the track selling himself as the alternative to the alternative who is the alternative to Bush. Never in the history of US presidential politics has a candidate so obviously been running for the ribbon-cutting slot on the ticket. (previous ranking: unranked)
Others receiving votes: Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Al Gore, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich

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The GOP Horse Tip Sheet
Rankings last updated: November 5, 2007
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
1 Rudy Giuliani Giuliani Rudy’s remains in the top spot due to his healthy year-long national lead. But the Mayor will test history by trying to win the GOP nomination despite likely losing Iowa, New Hampshire and possibly South Carolina, where he now trails slightly in the state averages to Governor Romney. Rudy’s team loves to crow about their double digit national lead, but they’d trade 10 national points for a win in Iowa or New Hampshire in a New York minute. (previous ranking: #1)
2 Mitt Romney Romney Down Romney’s campaign is one of the more perplexing in recent cycles. His national numbers are almost exactly what they were 6 months and tens of millions of dollars ago. But his state numbers improve almost poll-to-poll. He sits very comfortably ahead in Iowa, somewhat comfortably ahead in New Hampshire, and for the first time leads in South Carolina, a state presumed unwinnable by a Mormon. Would you rather be the horse with the national lead or the one leading the states that vote first? (previous ranking: #3)
3 Fred Thompson Fred Thompson Down Fred manages to stay in the running, even though he likes to wander off the track every once in a while to graze in the infield. He might be the first candidate to contend for the nomination without actually campaigning. And no, we’re not comparing him to the reluctant George Washington. It’s hard to imagine the GOP base, no matter how much they like him, rewarding his part-time campaign with the GOP nomination. (previous ranking: #2)
4 Mike Huckabee
(tie)
Huckabee Up As Fred fails to impress, Huckabee creeps toward the top-tier. Huck’s numbers have improved in Iowa and a second place showing would make him an instant contender. His greatest hurdles are cash — he has almost none — and the growing chorus of conservative voices accusing him of being a RINO while serving as Arkansas governor. (previous ranking: #5)
5 John McCain
(tie)
McCain Down The fact that these two are tied says a lot about both candidates. McCain continues to fail to meet expectations while Paul soars right over them. McCain looks more tired than battle tested and Paul looks energetic and spunky. So yes, we finally have a Year 2000 McCain in the race! But it’s Ron, not John, and that’s why Paul is capturing the grassroots energy that once belonged to McCain. (previous ranking: tied for #4)
5 Ron Paul
(tie)
Paul Up See McCain, Tired. (previous ranking: #5)
Others receiving votes: Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo

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