FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The Iowa caucuses tonight could be a make-or-break event for some of the presidential hopefuls.
Even before Iowans make their choices, there are reports that Republican Fred Thompson may drop out of the race within days if he places a distant third, or worse. Sources suggest if he drops out, he will then endorse John McCain, which could shake up the race in New Hampshire. And Thompson probably won't be the only one to hang it up.
A piece in "The Politico" today asks if there really are three tickets out of Iowa. Although candidates like to talk about how winning "gold, silver, or bronze" is enough, a third-place finish in Iowa has almost always meant the end of the road for presidential wanna-bees. Sometimes, even a second place finish in Iowa isn't good enough.
Top tier candidates are likely to stay in the race if they don't do well in Iowa, but some of the others will likely vanish. The trick for candidates in the Iowa caucuses has always been to exceed media expectations, meaning if you can do better than expected, you're likely to still be a news story.
Here’s my question to you: Which candidates won't still be around after the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
The "big three" Democrats will be fine and will live to fight another day (Obama, Clinton and Edwards); the rest will be gone. For the Republicans, I think you're going to see Fred Thompson gone soon, McCain won't make it much further and I honestly think Giuliani is going to take a big hit here. I think only Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and my man Ron Paul will survive.
Steve from New York writes:
Duncan Hunter, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, and surprisingly, Fred Thompson. I think he's out of fuel already.
Mike from San Francisco writes:
Sad to say, the two Democratic candidates who are most qualified to be president are Joe Biden and Bill Richardson, and they won't be around much longer.
I'm hopeful this year, at least more hopeful than in times past. After caucus-time though I think we'll be saying goodbye to Hunter, Thompson, and (as much as I personally like him) Ron Paul on the Republican side. For the Democrats, (again, as much as I like him) Kucinich, Richardson, and Dodd are probably done. But anything can happen in '08!
Jacob from Iowa writes:
On the Democratic side, I firmly believe it will come down to Edwards, Clinton, and Obama. On the Republican side, there will be Huckabee, Romney, Paul and McCain. But McCain is going to miss 3rd place to Paul's swelling support here in Iowa. For some reason, I'm seeing very little reporting on the massive amounts of campaigning I am seeing being done by Paul's grassroots here.
William from Port Washington, New York writes:
Jack, The only candidates who will still be around after the Iowa and N.H. primaries are the ones that you choose to report on. While I believe that you, Jack, are one of the more honest reporters, the corporate media is unfortunately the final decider. If you choose to not report Edwards in second place, then the fault lies with you, not with the voters.
Maybe Jack will read yours tomorrow.