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Handicapping the GOP's presidential horse race
Philadelphia Inquirer ^ | 10/21/07 | Jonathan Last

Posted on 10/21/2007 11:52:25 AM PDT by ellery

As I sat watching the last Republican debate, the following occurred to me: Hillary Rodham Clinton could carry 40 states.

When you do the math, that's probably an overreaction. Not by much, though. For a number of reasons (the war, the housing market, the unpopularity of President Bush, the Senate seats up for grabs), the best-case scenario for the Democrats is a broad-realignment election in which the nominee carries 35 or more states. The best-case scenario for Republicans: a narrow popular victory accompanied by a favorable Electoral College split, along the lines of the 2004 election.

So which lucky Republican will get to try to pull an ace from this stacked deck? By the end of January we'll know almost for sure; today we know enough to divine the rough contours of the race. Let's start at the top and work our way down.

Rudy Giuliani leads the pack, according to most polls. Rasmussen Reports, which surveys likely Republican primary voters, has him on top with 29 percent and has shown very little fluctuation in his support this year. He began 2007 at 28 percent. Since then, Rasmussen has put him only as high as 37 percent and not below 22 percent. Giuliani has raised enough money to be comfortable and hasn't been afraid to spend it, burning through just more than $30 million to date.

In one sense, Giuliani's position defies explanation. He's not conservative by any traditional measure, and his Manhattan cultural reality couldn't be more different from that of mainstream America. To his credit, Giuliani was an exceptional mayor who deserves all sorts of praise for turning New York City around. But the uncomfortable truth is that had George W. Bush not spent seven minutes reading My Pet Goat and then flown from bunker to bunker on 9/11, people probably wouldn't have been so captivated by Giuliani's impressive but largely symbolic performance that day. The Giuliani mystique is built around that fact: He already has stood in loco presidentis, and people liked what they saw.

Fred Thompson is running a close second. Rasmussen has him consistently around 23 percent nationally, from a standing start in March. His support hovered in the mid-teens until June, when he officially formed his exploratory committee after dithering since March. After that, his numbers shot up, edging him past Giuliani for a moment. Now that he's actively campaigning and participating in the debates, his stock should show some more volatility. Voters will render judgment on the candidate, rather than the idea of the guy behind Door #2. The former Tennessee senator is short on money, but at this stage, the message and the messenger matter more.

Speaking of money: Mitt Romney has raised more - $62.8 million - than any other Republican. (He's given $17.4 million of his own money to his campaign.) He's also spent more - $53.6 million - than any other Republican. To put this gusher of cash into perspective, the eight other candidates in the field have combined to spend just $78.6 million.

And what does the former Massachusetts governor have to show for his money? Well, even though he's been running for president since late 2003, Romney is sitting, nationally, in a distant third place. These numbers have been slow to move: Romney began the year with 8 percent support and now sits at 13 percent in Rasmussen polls. That's about $10 million per point, for those of you keeping score at home. He's closing in on Bloomberg territory.

What Romney's money has bought him is a serious presence in Iowa, where he typically polls around 25 percent, 10 points ahead of both Giuliani and Thompson. The Romney theory of victory is that he buys his way to a blowout win in Iowa, then slingshots to a first-place finish in New Hampshire (where he currently holds a slight lead over Giuliani), and then leverages his national numbers with these two victories, helping him through Super Tuesday.

Howard Dean and Steve Forbes can testify that money goes only so far. At some point, Romney's spending will be subject to the law of diminishing returns; if he expects to have any chance, he has to catch fire at some time with actual voters. Herein lies the problem: Gov. Mitt Romney is an incredibly attractive, interesting politician who blends affability with policy-wonk intelligence. The Mitt Romney running for president today is a strange creature who promises to move "In God We Trust" from the back of our currency to the front and insists he was against abortion before he was for it. The gentleman running as Mitt Romney looks and sounds like an android created by James Dobson and Grover Norquist after they'd gotten hopped up on Dr Pepper and Pixie Stix. And that Mitt Romney has zero chance of winning the nomination.

Which brings us to the third tier, with John McCain and Mike Huckabee, who are anti-Romneys. McCain has spent $28.6 million to have his poll numbers fall by half. Huckabee has spent almost no money (just $1.7 million) to rise from anonymity to 8 percent nationally - with a new Rasmussen poll putting him at 18 percent in Iowa. With Sam Brownback out of the race, Huckabee should see a further bump. He isn't going to win the nomination; but Huckabee has done a good job establishing himself as a likable, serious conservative.

As for McCain, the campaign has probably passed him by. Two bits of history to consider, however, before writing him off for good: In October 1999, McCain sat a bit lower in the polls than he does today. George W. Bush was the overwhelming favorite, with support in the high 60s and low 70s. In the end, McCain gave Bush all he could handle. In October 2003, Howard Dean led a crowded field with support of about 16 percent. John Kerry, who had at one time been the front-runner, sat at 8 percent in the polls. By December, Dean had pushed his lead to the 30s and Kerry had fallen to 4 percent.

We all know how that ended.


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2008; election; elections; fred; giuliani; gop; huckabee; mccain; mitt; romney; rudy; thompson

1 posted on 10/21/2007 11:52:26 AM PDT by ellery
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To: ellery
The best-case scenario for Republicans: a narrow popular victory accompanied by a favorable Electoral College split, along the lines of the 2004 election.

Bush beat Kerry soundly by 3 million votes or about 2.5%..

2 posted on 10/21/2007 11:58:53 AM PDT by finnman69 (cum puella incedit minore medio corpore sub quo manifestu s globus, inflammare animos)
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To: All

Tired of the media snubbing Hunter and Tancredo...the only real conservatives running

GOP wont win if they run a liberal


3 posted on 10/21/2007 12:02:26 PM PDT by UCFRoadWarrior (FantasyCollegeBlitz.com)
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To: ellery

I cannot Believe Fred cannot crack 90% one on one with Hillary on this forum. What is happening to this place?

http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/poll?poll=195;results=2


4 posted on 10/21/2007 12:06:10 PM PDT by omega4179 (FRED08.COM)
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To: ellery

>>>The former Tennessee senator is short on money, but at this stage, the message and the messenger matter more. <<<

This reporter didn’t do his homework... Fred has $6.4M cash on hand (net of debts) as of the end of the 3Q. Second only to Rudy.


5 posted on 10/21/2007 12:06:30 PM PDT by So Cal Rocket
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To: finnman69

Hillary has virtually no chance of winning places such as Idaho, the Dakotas, Utah, Nebraska, Alabama, Mississippi, and some others. The Republican can count on about 200 electoral votes right now. If Hillary wins it will be close. No way are we going to see Hillary carry 35 states.


6 posted on 10/21/2007 12:06:54 PM PDT by Dilbert San Diego
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To: ellery
I really don't like refereing to the presidential elections as a horse race.

It gives this old nag an unfair advantage...


7 posted on 10/21/2007 12:09:49 PM PDT by null and void (Franz Kafka would have killed himself in despair if he lived in the world we inhabit today.)
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To: ellery
>the best-case scenario for the Democrats is a broad-realignment election in which the nominee carries 35 or more states.
The best-case scenario for Republicans: a narrow popular victory accompanied by a favorable Electoral College split, along the lines of the 2004 election.

Try as I do, this statement rings true.

The election is Hillary’s to lose.
The electoral votes are there for her and we are going to lose this election unless our candidate comes forward and just plain takes some of them from her.

An Hillary electoral landslide is possible, and the dems are on track to win 57 Senate seats, virtually assuring 100% passage of every single thing that they want, and the ability to brush us aside with impunity.

Hillarycare, immigration amnesty, taxes, judges, the whole 9 yards.

Our candidate must be one that we can all coalesce around and carry the fight to them, so as to carry a few of the Senate seats on his coattails.

Don’t see that happening at this time, and it had best, or the America that we know is about to pass.

8 posted on 10/21/2007 12:10:30 PM PDT by bill1952 ("all that we do is done with an eye towards something else." - Aristotle)
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To: omega4179

I must have already voted - can we freep our own poll?


9 posted on 10/21/2007 12:14:39 PM PDT by Gil4 ("There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism" - Teddy Roosevelt)
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To: Dilbert San Diego
Hillary has virtually no chance of winning places such as Idaho, the Dakotas, Utah, Nebraska, Alabama, Mississippi, and some others.

And no Republican has a chance of winning in New York, Illinois, California, Washington, New Jersey and Maryland.

The Republican can count on about 200 electoral votes right now.

The Democrats can count on about 220-240. I think that the 2008 election will boil down to half a dozen swing states: Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, and Colorado.

10 posted on 10/21/2007 12:20:59 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Save Fredericksburg. Support CVBT.)
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To: ellery

“As I sat watching the last Republican debate, the following occurred to me: Hillary Rodham Clinton could carry 40 states.”

Hoo boy. I guess opium production _is_ up in Afghanistan. ;-)


11 posted on 10/21/2007 12:23:37 PM PDT by PreciousLiberty
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To: bill1952
An Hillary electoral landslide is possible, and the dems are on track to win 57 Senate seats, virtually assuring 100% passage of every single thing that they want, and the ability to brush us aside with impunity.

LOL. What are smoking? Hillary has the highest negatives [apporaching 50%] of any candidate within recent memory. Her husband never broke 50% of the popular vote. It is going to be a close race electorally, no matter who gets the Rep nomination. What states will Hillary get that Kerry didn't?

Once Hillary is coronated as the Dem nominee and the Rep candidated selected, then we can talk about the election. You can bet that all of the Clinton scandals, pardons, her lack of any executive experience, and any real legislative accomplishements will come to the fore. And then there is the matter of being the first woman to be elected to the Presidency. Hillary is far from a slam dunk and that will become more apparent when Hillary is challenged compared to the powder puff, token opposition the other Dems are providing.

12 posted on 10/21/2007 12:27:50 PM PDT by kabar
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To: omega4179

vote splitting.

The more marginal candidates the more power protect for the effete elite favorite.

Giuliani has the MSM behind him. The MSM support is worth votes. The more coverage to dead enders like huckabee and paul, the more they drive off a percentage here and there.


13 posted on 10/21/2007 12:31:56 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: Non-Sequitur

FNC said this morning Hillary is looking to tap the Ohio Governor for VP.


14 posted on 10/21/2007 12:33:33 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: kabar

The MSM is working the divide and conquer stategy.

1. push for the GOP candidate most like Hillary clinton.
2. push dissatisfaction buttons with stories emphasising the candidates similarities with Hillary Clinton.
3. pull off just enough votes from the GOP conscience voters.

Essentially the candidate outcome of the GOP will win or lose the presidential election for the GOP.


15 posted on 10/21/2007 12:38:21 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: ellery
He makes the mistake of thinking that the Iraq war works in the Democrat favor. With Hillary as the nominee, that issue becomes contentious for the RATS, not for the Republicans. In the most liberal districts, those running for Congress under the Democrat label will be pressured to distance themselves from Hillary's positions, especially her being not willing to admit that she made a mistake by voting for force in Iraq.

None of the possible Republican nominees has an Iraq authorization vote in his background, and can easily say, "we did the right thing for the right reasons, but in the wrong way" and look no worse than Hillary on this issue. She'll have her hands completely full if the moonbats decide to run a third party peacenik candidate to her left.

16 posted on 10/21/2007 12:40:01 PM PDT by hunter112 (Change will happen when very good men are forced to do very bad things.)
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To: ellery
“Hillary Rodham Clinton could carry 40 states.”

This is what happens when you “mainstream” the mentally deranged.

17 posted on 10/21/2007 12:44:08 PM PDT by vetsvette (Bring Him Back)
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To: omega4179
“I cannot Believe Fred cannot crack 90% one on one with Hillary on this forum. What is happening to this place?”

You’ve found one of the rare examples of Dummies having more sense than some Freepers.

18 posted on 10/21/2007 12:46:11 PM PDT by vetsvette (Bring Him Back)
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To: longtermmemmory
I think the MSM wants to paint all GOP candidates as being "fatally flawed." They are playing "whack a mole" with any GOP candidate who sticks his head up. That said, they would love for Rudy to be the candidate. He has as much if not more personal baggage as the Clintons. Their ops research people probably have a semi fully of material on him.
19 posted on 10/21/2007 12:48:55 PM PDT by kabar
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To: kabar

No Giuliani, No Problem.

As long as they give “just enough” free PR to keep the fringe alive but not enough to break out the MSM picks the winner by name recognition.


20 posted on 10/21/2007 12:56:53 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: longtermmemmory
FNC said this morning Hillary is looking to tap the Ohio Governor for VP.

Makes sense. If Clinton carries the 20 states that Kerry took plus Ohio then she's president wih 271 electoral votes.

21 posted on 10/21/2007 12:57:56 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Save Fredericksburg. Support CVBT.)
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To: longtermmemmory
As long as they give “just enough” free PR to keep the fringe alive but not enough to break out the MSM picks the winner by name recognition.

The MSM has power and influence but not that much. Those who vote in the primaries are mostly the base and the better informed when it comes to the issues and the candidates. We will pick the nominee. I honestly believe we are going to wind up with a brokered convention, with no candidate garnering enough votes on the first ballot.

22 posted on 10/21/2007 1:02:12 PM PDT by kabar
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To: bill1952

Nice way to throw in the towel. 50% of voters say they will never vote for Hillary. Do you actually think she is going to get all of the other 50%?


23 posted on 10/21/2007 1:07:12 PM PDT by anoldafvet (To liberals, building a wall across the Mexican border is a violation of the Voting Rights Act.)
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To: Non-Sequitur

...and the GOP elites think a pro-abortion, pro-gun control, anti-marriage protection candidate will UNITE conservates to the GOP.


24 posted on 10/21/2007 1:08:26 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: Non-Sequitur
Gov Strickland

He didn’t come to public service as a lawyer or an investor, but as the son of a steelworker. Ted was born on August 4, 1941 in Lucasville, Ohio, one of nine children. He spent his childhood active in church and school life. As a young man, he never imagined he’d be able to go to college until a high school teacher took him on a trip to Asbury College and Theological Seminary in Kentucky.

His family was able to piece together enough for tuition and, soon after graduating from Northwest High School, he found himself attending Asbury College in Kentucky, receiving a B.A. in History in 1963. He went on to attend the Asbury Theological Seminary and received a Master of Divinity. He continued his studies at the University of Kentucky, receiving a doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology in 1980.

Professionally,Ted has served as a minister, a psychologist, and a college professor. He was an administrator at a Methodist children’s home, an assistant professor of psychology at Shawnee State University, and a consulting psychologist at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF).

I would be very surprised if Hillary picked him.

25 posted on 10/21/2007 1:18:00 PM PDT by kabar
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To: ellery
"The best-case scenario for Republicans: a narrow popular victory accompanied by a favorable Electoral College split, along the lines of the 2004 election."

What planet is this writer from???

George Bush got a huge margin of victory in the popular as WELL AS the Electoral College votes!

26 posted on 10/21/2007 1:28:51 PM PDT by Redbob (WWJBD - "What Would Jack Bauer Do?")
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To: kabar
What states will Hillary get that Kerry didn't?

Unless we nominate a strong red-state candidate, the 'toons could very likely carry Arkansas. If they chose someone like Richardson as the VP, they might carry New Mexico, too.

27 posted on 10/21/2007 1:31:18 PM PDT by ellery (I don't remember a constitutional amendment that gives you the right not to be identified-R.Giuliani)
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To: Dilbert San Diego
"Hillary has virtually no chance of winning places such as Idaho, the Dakotas,..."

By all means be sure you put Texas on that list, and Tennessee, and I'll bet she'd be hard-pressed to even win her "home" state of Arkansas.

I think it's time we talked about separating this country along regional lines, group people with similar values - or total lack thereof - together, and let the God-less Yankees go their own way.

28 posted on 10/21/2007 1:33:01 PM PDT by Redbob (WWJBD - "What Would Jack Bauer Do?")
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To: kabar

Ohio, she will win Ohio. The question is,which blue state will we turn ?

This from a person who never believed she could win before. Now, I don’t know how we stop her.


29 posted on 10/21/2007 1:39:30 PM PDT by prov1813man (While the one you despise and ridicule works to protect you, those you embrace work to destroy you)
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To: Redbob

No matter who runs against her, she will win about six states. There is so much seething hatred for her across America that I believe just about any Republican can beat her (or even an independent). She’s toast.


30 posted on 10/21/2007 1:39:51 PM PDT by huckfillary (qual tyo ta)
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To: ellery

Perhaps, but Kerry just got by in WI. It works both ways.


31 posted on 10/21/2007 1:40:08 PM PDT by kabar
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To: kabar

Good point.


32 posted on 10/21/2007 1:45:33 PM PDT by ellery (I don't remember a constitutional amendment that gives you the right not to be identified-R.Giuliani)
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To: kabar
The MSM has power and influence but not that much.

Really ? How else to explain the fact, then, that a large percentage of the population can not distinguish between good and evil, literally.

How else to explain that 50% of us voted in favor of those endorsed by those sworn to kill us all ? How else to explain the greatest economy in the history of earth has been talked down to the point most folks think we're in hard times ? Without the power and influence of the media, the left would be driven to camps on the swamp, fearing retribution by the citizenry.

33 posted on 10/21/2007 1:48:43 PM PDT by prov1813man (While the one you despise and ridicule works to protect you, those you embrace work to destroy you)
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To: prov1813man
Ohio, she will win Ohio. The question is,which blue state will we turn ?

It is a bit premature to be calling states at this point. I don't think Hillary is a lock by any means. Her high negatives plus all of the Clinton scandals make her vulnerable. She is going to help the GOP turnout without a doubt.

34 posted on 10/21/2007 1:52:01 PM PDT by kabar
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To: prov1813man
Really ? How else to explain the fact, then, that a large percentage of the population can not distinguish between good and evil, literally.

I was not discussing the population at large, rather registered GOP voters and in the context of whether the MSM could use its influence to determine who the GOP nominee would be. I don't think they have that kind of influence and control upon the GOP base.

35 posted on 10/21/2007 2:02:24 PM PDT by kabar
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To: kabar

Point well taken.


36 posted on 10/21/2007 2:08:48 PM PDT by prov1813man (While the one you despise and ridicule works to protect you, those you embrace work to destroy you)
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To: anoldafvet

>Nice way to throw in the towel

Nice way to avoid the facts.

Be smart. I’m voting for whomever runs against hillary. The electoral votes are there for a Clinton win, the polls be damned.

Face up to it and plan accordingly.


37 posted on 10/21/2007 2:43:47 PM PDT by bill1952 ("all that we do is done with an eye towards something else." - Aristotle)
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To: Redbob

The electoral votes couldn’t have been much closer.
One state made the difference and you can’t cut it closer than that.

Bush did win a resounding popular vote. :)


38 posted on 10/21/2007 2:48:16 PM PDT by bill1952 ("all that we do is done with an eye towards something else." - Aristotle)
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To: bill1952
Don’t see that happening at this time, and it had best, or the America that we know is about to pass.

Don't kid yourself...The America we 'knew' is already past...

We're going globalist...We're giving up America...Hillary AND Thompson will both take us there...

It's got to the point where Republican is as much as a dirty word as Democrat...

In my view, anyone who vill vote for one of the top four Republicans is a Democrat in Drag...

39 posted on 10/21/2007 2:53:25 PM PDT by Iscool (What if Jesus meant everything that He said...)
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To: longtermmemmory

FNC is anti-Fred.


40 posted on 10/21/2007 3:28:05 PM PDT by wardaddy (Behind the lines in Vichy Nashville)
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To: Non-Sequitur

I agree with you except for Colorado. Hillary’s negatives are very high there; I doubt she takes it.


41 posted on 10/21/2007 3:50:04 PM PDT by Norman Bates
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To: kabar

WI is a tossup which could go either way. I suspect we take NH versus Hillary but that depends on the nominee. The states I am most concerned about are OH, FL, MO, AR, WV, and to a lesser extent VA. Right now SurveyUSA has Hillary leading everyone but McCain in OH and at 50% in MO versus everyone but McCain. We can win - the election if stil a time away - but we have our work cut out. I only hope Bush can improve is poll rating some, and most importantly that the public views Iraq largely well by this time next year.


42 posted on 10/21/2007 3:55:01 PM PDT by Norman Bates
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To: ellery
Aren’t we handicapped enough already with these GOP leaders the ‘drive by media’ has selected for us?
43 posted on 10/21/2007 3:56:52 PM PDT by airborne (Proud to be a conservative! Proud to support Duncan Hunter for President!)
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To: prov1813man
This from a person who never believed she could win before. Now, I don’t know how we stop her.

There's a lot of denial on this board.

State polls in Mo., Ohio & Ark. show her leading the GOP. We're in trouble nationally, not even holding the Bush states against her at this point. We've got our work cut out for us.

FReepers need a reality check. Too much bandwidth is being wasted here on Tancredo, Paul & 4H*.........the "no-chance" candidates.

* 4H = The Hopeless, Hapless & Helpless Hunter

44 posted on 10/21/2007 4:29:53 PM PDT by Republic If You Can Keep It
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To: kabar
I would be very surprised if Hillary picked him.

Clinton wants to be president. She'd pick Jeb Bush if she though it'd help her win.

45 posted on 10/21/2007 5:01:08 PM PDT by Non-Sequitur (Save Fredericksburg. Support CVBT.)
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To: Non-Sequitur

I don’t think Strickland will help her win. The Moveon.org crowd won’t want a minister on the ticket, despite his lifetime ACU rating of 12 while in Congress. He voted for a partial birth abortion ban.


46 posted on 10/21/2007 5:09:14 PM PDT by kabar
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To: Non-Sequitur
While she is winning wide support in nationwide samples among Democrats in the race for their party’s presidential nomination, half of likely voters nationwide said they would never vote for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows.
47 posted on 10/21/2007 7:04:26 PM PDT by kabar
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To: airborne

:)


48 posted on 10/21/2007 8:51:47 PM PDT by ellery (I don't remember a constitutional amendment that gives you the right not to be identified-R.Giuliani)
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