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Handicapping the Presidency

The Congressional elections have now all been decided, and the race for the 2008 Presidency is in full swing. This is a seriously crowded field. Here are my early thoughts.

On the Republican side, there are at least six candidates.

Govenor Mitt Romney. Smart. Amazingly telegenic. Squeaky clean. A very rich, very smart capitalist (a co-founder of Bain Capital). Anti-abortion views will appeal to the religious conservatives, fiscal policy is likely to appeal to deficit hawks. Experience however, is rather light. Somewhat of a long shot.

Senator John McCain. Experienced, war hero, author; he owns the stateman position. We must assume he is the front runner, and has a legitimate claim to the centrist/moderate position. Age and temper may work against him, although he does seem to have mellowed a little in the last few years. Not the favorite of either the fiscal hawks or the religious right.

America's Mayor Rudy Guilani. Exhibited leadership after Sept. 11 that no one forsaw. Messy divorce and pro-abortion position will alienate the religious right. However, if the Democratic candidate is Senator Clinton, the Republican leadership might conclude to treat the religious right as a given; assuming that they would find Satan attractive compared to Hil. A big hit on the fund raising circuit. If nominated, I think he would win - great debater.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich. There are two great political minds in the U.S today - Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich. The thinking man's conservative; a fountain of ideas. A real concept of foreign policy, which has been non-existent in American political life since the Nixon administration. However, he was a complete lighting rod for the left for a decade. A Newt candidacy would probably create the biggest Democratic fundraising ever. He too had an ugly divorce. Long shot for nomination, longer shot for election.

Senator Chuck Hagel. Even though he is a second term senator, a successful businessman and a decorated Vietnam veteran, I don't think he is that well known. Probably would be a good President, but I'm calling this one a long shot.

Representative Duncan Hunter. Duncan: I saw that you had formed an exploratory committee. Who are you?

The Democrats have even more candidates.
Senator Hillary Clinton. Husband is a politicial genius. Has already assembled the best team. And has already raised a lot of money. Smart. Great experience - let's face it - she's lived in the White House. A fund-raising machine. But, would fill Republican coffers like no one else. Both the nomination and the election are hers to lose.

Senator Joe Biden. Colorful. Great overall and foreign policy experience. Would probably make a really good, centrist President, but will struggle to catch Hil, or to learn to speak in concise, cogent sentences.

Former VP Al Gore. The Dem's big idea guy. A Nixonian comeback? He did, after all, win the popular vote. Presumably learned a lot, including perhaps some humility, from the loss in 2000. Environmentalism as the new religion will play well in liberal land. Another extremely well-quailified guy. If Hil stumbles, I think he emerges as the go-to guy.

Senator John Kerry. His friends say that he has a great sense of humor. It just doesn't show through. Americans aren't going to vote for someone they see as humorless. I don't think he gets the nomination, and I don't think he could beat McCain or Guiliani.

Former Senator John Edwards. Trial lawyer skills show on the campaign trail. Telegenic. However, seems to be lightweight. A long shot.

Senator Chris Dodd. Skilled politico. Chairmanship of the party taught him good debating and presenting skills. Would need to take a page from W's play book on how to put a party boy reputation behind him. Outside of those of us who watch Fox Sunday News, Meet the Press and Face the Nation, not sure how well known he is even after years in the senate.

Senator Barak Obama. Great story; great looking, good speaker, too soon.

My early call: Romney vs. Clinton - Clinton as the first woman President.


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