News & Politics

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not So Hot in 2008’s Presidential Race?

In an up-and-down, down-and-out presidential race, here are picks for 2008 winners and losers.

⇑ David Axelrod —Few people know the story of Barack Obama’s message man. That’s the way Axelrod likes it.

⇓ Mark Penn —Hillary Rodham Clinton’s poll guru broke a cardinal rule: He became the story.

⇑ Mark Salter —The right hand of John McCain for years has proven his staying power (and value) again and again.

⇓ Samantha Power —The controversial foreign-policy adviser blew a chance to be Obama’s secretary of State with her ill-advised comments calling Clinton a “monster.” ⇑ Tim Pawlenty —Sticking by McCain over the last year leaves the Minnesota governor well positioned for a veep slot.

⇓ Bernie Kerik —No friendship figured larger in this election—or did more damage—than that between the former NYPD commissioner and Hizzoner Rudy Giuliani.

⇑ Kevin Madden —Mitt Romney’s press chief and veteran Capitol Hill aide is loved by the media and at some point seems destined for the White House briefing-room podium.

⇓ Patti Solis Doyle —The loyal aide, who has been at Hillary’s side since 1991, took the fall for the campaign’s early stumbles.

⇑ Oprah Winfrey —Her star power moves not just books but also evidently candidates. Might there be more politics in her future?

⇓ Bob Johnson —The BET cofounder was a hatchet man for Clinton, going after Obama on drug use, but was forced to apologize after going too far.

⇑ JetBlue —McCain’s luxurious campaign charter plane from the low-cost carrier will keep on flying, keeping reporters and aides alike happy.

⇓ Holiday Inn —With Mike Huckabee out of the running, it appears that so is Holiday Inn’s moment of fame.

⇑ Chicago —With both Obama and Clinton claiming the Windy City as home, look for lots of deep-dish pizza and jokes about “the Chicago way” in the months ahead.

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⇓ Massachusetts —The Bay State saw former governor Romney lose—and then even the backing of Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Deval Patrick couldn’t unite the state for Obama.

⇑ Mike Allen —Politico’s Playbook writer, who seems to be online at all times, is to 2008 what ABC’s Note was to 2004.

⇓ Fox News —With all the excitement on the Democratic side, the longtime cable frontrunner is losing to CNN this time.

⇑ Iowans —The January 3 upset wins they gave Huckabee and Obama shaped the race until its final days.

⇓ Right-handers —Both McCain and Obama are, like four of the last five presidents, left-handed.

⇑ Evangelicals —Even though they couldn’t deliver a nominee, they proved that by uniting behind Huckabee they could make life difficult for the GOP.

⇓ Mormons —Romney’s campaign uncovered a surprising national level of discomfort with the Utah-based religion.

⇑ Lobbyists —Their influence has a major impact on both sides of the aisle.

⇓ Lobbyists —Obama’s small-dollar-donor juggernaut presages a day when lobbyists won’t have to devote every night to a candidate’s fundraiser.
This article can be found in the April 2008 issue of The Washingtonian.

This article appears in the April 2008 issue of The Washingtonian.