Two of Washington's premier election analysts made a prediction this weekend: It'll be Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Gov. Mitt Romney facing off in November of 2008.
Speaking at a major Michigan political gathering, Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg agreed on the matchup, and that national trends seem to favor the Democrat's chances.
Cook said Clinton’s campaign has “Prussian efficiency,” likened it to Richard Nixon’s campaign in 1972 and said hers is “more organized than any Democratic campaign that I’ve ever seen.” Cook says 46 to 48 percent of Americans “won’t vote for her no matter what," but he says she's walking that thin line well because, "She’s cautious and she doesn’t make mistakes.”
Rothenberg, handicapping the GOP race, said “Normally, you’d look for the oldest white guy in the race.” But McCain has lost his outside status, Rudy Giuliani is “in the wrong party,” (“He’s pro adultery in a party that is not officially pro adultery,” he quipped) and Mitt Romney “oozes leadership but has multiple positions on issues like abortion” that are important to GOP voters in Iowa. Fred Thompson is in the race, Rothenberg said, “because the media needs a new name. He’s a vessel each of you can pour your hopes and dreams into, the Republican Barack Obama.”
The pair suggested that history favors a Democrat winning in 2008 because only once since World War II has a party had three straight White House terms--when George Bush succeeded Ronald Reagan.
The wild card this year, they said, may be New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, if he indeed makes a third-party bid where he spends a billion dollars of his own money. (See my May 15th blog about this.)