Welcome to the latest edition of PoliticalDerby.com's 2012 Power Rankings, the original tracking service of the race for the White House. The rankings are updated as circumstances warrant and are compiled by our Editors using wire reports, polls, campaign staffer scuttlebutt and confidential tips. The rankings may not be reprinted or quoted in any form without attribution to PoliticalDerby.com.

The GOP Horses
Power Ranking The Horse Momentum The Tip Sheet
1

Mark
Sanford

Governor Grassroots Darling makes his way to the front of the pack because he has the audacity to think SC might know better than Washington how to spend all that bailout booty. If he's successful in standing up to the 700,000,000-eyed stimulus monster, this shiny-toothed horse may stay out front through the first turn and be well positioned for the back stretch in 2010. If not, he could waste away faster than Katie Holmes on the cabbage soup diet.

Mitt
Romney

Mitt holds on to #2 by simply staying steady. He continues to give good speeches and they seem to only get better with practice. Did winning the CPAC straw poll for the third time in a row reassure conservatives that he might actually be the answer this go 'round? Time will tell, but for now he just needs to hope that his health care legacy in Massachusetts doesn't end up being proof that Obama's can't work.

3 Sarah
Palin

Just when her daughter and grandbaby had become yesterday's news, America's favorite moose hunter has to deal with an ex-future-son-in-law. Palin must have cringed at Bristol's comment that abstinence isn't practical. (Technically the teen was right. Studies prove it's pretty dang tough to practice abstinence as a teenager while still having sex.) Now toss in the news that the woman who previously tried to convince us that the only good earmarks are the ones used to tag caribou slyly slipped a few of her own into the ominous omnibus bill. Is it 14:59 for Sarah?

4 Mike
Huckabee
Sanford’s move to the front of the pack knocks Huck back a slot on the track. The former governor is getting plenty of face time, but a central question seems to remain for many conservatives: Huck Glib Finn the best we can do? Really? He’s certainly working hard to convince his Switzerland-sized army of Fox News viewers that the answer is a big fat yes. Good thing for Huck that Hannity or Beck aren't running.
5 Bobby
Jindal
Bobby breaks back into the front five by embracing the any-publicity-is-good-publicity axiom. Jindal gave the GOP response to President Obama's pseudo State of the Union speech and took a beating from the national press that even Chris Brown could be proud of. But while it wasn’t exactly must-see TV, it did have a Norman Gentle quality to it. Hard to watch; hard to look away. The good news is he’s performed better of late on Larry King, 60 Minutes, etc. The bad news is that unless he sprouts a second head that can speak something other than wonkese, he will never be a match for Obama. Or Romney, for that matter.

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