MSNBC GOP Candidate Rankings - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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MSNBC GOP Candidate Rankings

Huckabee moves up to fourth, Romney drops to third after Thompson enters race:

White House 2008 rankings: The Republicans
A bi-weekly rating of the presidential candidates
MSNBC - MSNBC - Breaking News, World and US News Stories & Headlines - Get the Latest Business, Health, Entertainment, Sports, & Technology updates from around the world Front Page

Updated: 2:09 p.m. CT Sept 24, 2007

WASHINGTON - We're down to five plausible nominees and four candidates whose presence in the race lacks a purpose. Rudy Giuliani remains No. 1, in part because he's the only candidate of the top three who seems to have struck a good balance between strategy and personality.

Note: Democrats and Republican rankings will be updated on alternating weeks. Click here for the latest Democratic rankings.

These rankings are ordered by likelihood of winning the Republican Party primary and are based on a number of factors, including organization, money, buzz and polling.
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1. Rudy Giuliani
Former New York City mayor Last Ranking: 1
He's had a great two weeks: acting like a president in London; aggressively challenging MoveOn and therefore burnishing his anti-liberal, tough-guy image; and going before the critical (and critical) National Rifle Association. And his opponents aren't lifting a finger. It's remarkable how easily they're letting Giuliani define the contours of the Republican race. BTW: Will any major Christian conservative leader endorse Giuliani before the primaries begin? If none do, what does that say about the state of the movement?

2. Fred Thompson
Former Tennessee senator Last Ranking: 3
Thompson has lost the elite primary, but he's OK with grassroots Republicans so far. Which one is the trailing indicator? Can anyone tighten him up on the stump? His gaffes come one after the other, he often contradicts himself from one thought to the next, and the national press coverage has been savage. The Florida trip was a disaster; there's no sugarcoating it. An electorate begging for authencity isn't going to buy the notion that he didn't know much about the Terri Schiavo situation. And the Everglades oil drilling comment was just bizarre.

3. Mitt Romney
Former Massachusetts governor Last Ranking: 2
The campaign is either struggling or simply stuck as a result of its own strategy. In fact, Romney seems wedded to a theory of the race developed in late 2006, when John McCain was ascendant, the primary calendar was less clear and the notion that Rudy Giuliani would be the national front-runner was pooh-poohed. There are a lot of backseat drivers wondering why the campaign is "hiding" the real Romney. The candidate talks to a lot of folks who aren't officially with the campaign. Ask yourself, can a bunch of Washington insiders really run an outsider campaign? Does this explain why Giuliani is having more success -- because his chief strategists are not overt D.C. insiders?

4. Mike Huckabee
Former Arkansas governor Last Ranking: 4
Conservative straw poll wins might be the edge of a Huckabee renaissance -- or naissance, since he's never been higher in the polls -- in South Carolina and possibly Iowa. Still, his third-quarter fundraising numbers need to show that he has enough cash to start advertising in Iowa and try to become the surprise third-place candidate. Without that ability, maybe we should stop trying to put him in our top five.

5. John McCain
Arizona senator Last Ranking: 4
By his own schedule, it's make or break time. He needs to rise appreciably in the polls -- nationally and in New Hampshire -- before November, or he will run out of money and face pressure from his friends to quit. The press is trying to write the comeback story, but has anything really changed? Doesn't McCain need Giuliani to start faltering big time for him to find an opening?

6. Sam Brownback
Kansas senator Last Ranking: 5
There isn't a fourth ticket out of Iowa, unfortunately for him. It's not good when Brownback is compared to and lumped together with Tom Tancredo rather than Mitt Romney.

7. Ron Paul
Texas congressman Last Ranking: 6
We wonder what the Paulines will do after the election? Send us virus-laden spam email?

8. Tom Tancredo
Colorado Congressman Last Ranking: 8
He is still a single-issue candidate.

9. Duncan Hunter
California Congressman Last Ranking: 9
Point made. And goal accomplished: you're more of a national figure than you were. Time to get on with it, eh? It's not good to become the only presidential candidate currently on the trail having received a subpoena. (See Wilkes, Brent.)

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

-President Barack Obama, 1st Inaugural address
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