Who will be the next president? That's the subject of this evening's "Talking Points" Memo. With the first primary votes less than two months away, it's time for "The Factor" to begin our presidential coverage in earnest.
This cycle, we're going to do things a bit differently. We'll have two correspondents roaming the country, asking the candidates questions that are important to you. In that way, the contenders will not be able to dodge us. And maybe, I'll be one of the people in the field on occasion. Won't that be fun?
The latest polling data is in today. And here is how I see this thing. Even though Hillary Clinton took a hit in last week's debate, she is still just about a lock for the Democratic nomination.
She leads just about everywhere, has tons of money, and a very well - organized machine. We are betting on Senator Clinton.
Senator Obama is very talented, but his campaign advisers have restricted access to him. That has destroyed his chances. Next time, Mr. Obama needs to run his own campaign and not rely on other people to call the shots.
John Edwards has no chance. It is a vanity run.
On the Republican side, Pat Robertson's endorsement today of Rudy Giuliani solidifies his lead and makes him the big favorite. So far, the mayor has waged an effective campaign. He has a real shot at the nomination.
Senator McCain has made a comeback of sorts, but illegal immigration has hurt him dramatically. And I don't think he can overcome that.
Six months ago, his campaign was a mess. It has improved and McCain is very motivated.
Senator Thompson's campaign remains a mess. And he is slipping in the polls. No shot. Governor Romney is waging a smart, well organized campaign. He's ahead in both Iowa and New Hampshire.
If anyone can defeat Giuliani, it is Romney. As mentioned last night, Governor Huckabee's campaign has been energetic, but he doesn't have a chance.
In the "general" campaign, Senator Clinton will be the favorite, of course, with the American media on her side and unlimited funds from the left.
Mayor Giuliani could give her a good run because many independents and conservative Democrats will vote for him. If Governor Romney is the nominee, it'll be harder. Almost every Republican voter would have to support him, every one, as well as a majority of independents. So there you have it. Concise and up-to-the-minute. The way we do it here.
And that's the Memo.
Pinheads and Patriots
The New York Post is reporting that model Fabio and actor George Clooney got into a shoving match in a Los Angeles restaurant, something about some picture-taking and Fabio calling Clooney a diva.
Now, since Clooney always says nasty things about us, we're taking Fabio's side, even though we don't actually know what happened and don't really care. Yes, we are shallow, but Fabio is a patriot until further notice.
On the pinhead front, this is too easy. Code Pink protested in front of CNN this weekend. Nobody quite knows why or cares. However, they did a mock waterboarding demonstration — there it is — which was quite amusing and leads us to label these people "pinheads."
By the way, we would be happy to set up a real waterboarding experience for Code Pink. Just let us know when you're available.