In the same vein, if Obama wins the nomination, the Republican nominee would be foolish not to consider selecting Colin Powell as his running mate, since the same process would work in reverse — with the added benefit that Powell’s expertise in foreign policy and national security dovetail nicely with Obama’s perceived weaknesses in the same areas.
It’s true Giuliani has had a rough six months and has still maintained his status as the leader of the pack. But unless he can find a way to neutralize Bloomberg, he won’t be the next president.
Next week, the Republican contest will likely see a few stragglers fall out of contention, while the past two weeks have incubated an actual issue for the Democrats to digest. Here are brief notes from both sides of the aisle.
Republicans: The Iowa straw poll this weekend should force the withdrawal of several second-tier non-starters. Any of the announced candidates who are participating in the poll (Giuliani and John McCain have taken a pass) and who don’t finish in the Top Three are effectively finished. If you’re looking for a surprise, keep an eye on Mike Huckabee, who has been impressive on the stump and in debates.
Democrats: Ever since the CNN/YouTube debate on July 23, the Democratic contest has been dominated by Obama and Clinton’s dispute over Obama’s stated willingness to meet with foreign leaders from rogue nations without preconditions during his first year in office. Clinton escalated the argument the next day by calling Obama’s comment “irresponsible and frankly naive.”
In retrospect — as commentator Dick Morris has noted — it’s a debate that Clinton lost badly, as a subsequent Rasmussen poll showed Democrats agreeing with Obama’s position, 55 percent to 22 percent. By itself, the controversy means little. But it reveals two things about Clinton. First, her inclination is almost always to take the “official” or State Department position on an issue, which allows Obama to present himself effectively as an agent of change. Second, Hillary’s the one who made the dispute into a major issue. This is not a candidate with terrific political instincts, in marked contrast with her husband.
RUDY GIULIANI Odds: 5-3 | past week: same
MITT ROMNEY Odds: 7-2 | same
NEWT GINGRICH Odds: 5-1 | same
FRED THOMPSON Odds: 6-1 | same
JOHN MCCAIN Odds: 9-1 | same
MIKE HUCKABEE Odds: 80-1 | 100-1
SAM BROWNBACK Odds: 1000-1 | same
TOMMY THOMPSON Odds: 20,000-1 | same
DUNCAN HUNTER Odds: 50,000-1 | same
RON PAUL Odds: 100,000-1 | same
TOM TANCREDO Odds: 500,000-1 | 150,000-1
BARACK OBAMA Odds: 4-3 | past week: same
HILLARY CLINTON Odds: 3-2 | same
JOHN EDWARDS Odds: 6-1 | same
BILL RICHARDSON Odds: 65-1 | same
JOE BIDEN Odds: 75-1 | 85-1
CHRIS DODD Odds: 150-1 | same
DENNIS KUCINICH Odds: 100,000-1 | same
MIKE GRAVEL Odds: 4 million to 1 | 2 million to 1