Crystal ball has Obama in White House — and Castro in Miami
By Carl Leubsdorf
The long-awaited 2008 election year is finally upon us. Here are some of the things that might happen:
JANUARY: Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama win the Iowa caucuses, but John McCain and Hillary Clinton win the New Hampshire primary. Mitt Romney wins in Michigan, but the GOP race is muddled as Huckabee wins South Carolina, Ron Paul takes Nevada and Rudy Giuliani wins Florida. Among Democrats, Clinton wins Nevada, and Barack Obama wins South Carolina. President Bush announces a "surge" in Afghanistan and says he’ll shift 30,000 U.S. troops from Iraq.
FEBRUARY: The New England Patriots defeat the Green Bay Packers to win the Super Bowl and climax an unbeaten season. On Tsunami Tuesday, GOP hopefuls Giuliani, Romney and McCain all win some states, while Obama takes most of the Democratic contests. Democrats pronounce the Bush budget "dead on arrival." Romney takes the GOP lead by edging rivals in Wisconsin; Obama defeats Clinton. Fidel Castro announces he will retire and move to Miami, naming brother Raul as his successor.
MARCH: After a stirring rally at the Alamo, McCain wins the Texas GOP primary. Romney edges Giuliani in Ohio. Obama clinches the Democratic nomination by winning Ohio and Texas. Congress fails for a fourth time to override Bush’s veto of a State Children’s Health Insurance Program bill. Roger Clemens says he is retiring from baseball.
APRIL: After Giuliani edges Romney in Pennsylvania, analysts conclude that no one will win a majority of delegates. With polls showing Democrats likely to win the presidency, Senate and House, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia announces his retirement. President Bush names Sen. John Cornyn of Texas as Justice Scalia’s successor.
MAY: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo announces his engagement to singer-actress Jessica Simpson. New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg announces an independent presidential candidacy. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig gives amnesty to all suspected steroid users. Bush meets new Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, says he looked in his eyes and found him trustworthy.
JUNE: The Senate confirms Cornyn, 51-49, with independent Joe Lieberman and Democrat Mary Landrieu joining 49 Republicans in voting for him. The Texas Republican Executive Committee picks first lady Laura Bush as its GOP Senate candidate. The Dallas Mavericks lose to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.
JULY: Clemens announces he’ll return to baseball and signs with the Texas Rangers, who also sign free agent Barry Bonds. Bill Clinton endorses Bloomberg for president; Hillary Clinton endorses Obama. Castro says he’ll seek U.S. citizenship and campaign for Rep. Ron Paul.
AUGUST: With sectarian violence rising in Iraq, Bush announces plans to return 20,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan to stabilize the situation. Obama, concerned about polls showing questions about his inexperience, picks Al Gore as his running mate.
SEPTEMBER: On the third ballot of the Republican National Convention, Romney edges Giuliani after McCain withdraws. Romney picks Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas as his running mate. Ron Paul, Alan Keyes and Ralph Nader announce independent candidacies, bringing the presidential field to six. The Presidential Debate Commission limits debates to Obama, Romney and Bloomberg. Keyes and Nader sue.
OCTOBER: The Dallas Cowboys lose three of their first four games; Jessica Simpson splits with Tony Romo. Polls show that Obama leads the presidential race. Pledging a bipartisan administration, Romney announces that two of his sons and three of his daughters-in-law have become Democrats. The Detroit Tigers defeat the Philadelphia Phillies in baseball’s World Series. Congress recesses without passing any appropriations bills.
NOVEMBER: Osama bin Laden endorses Romney. Democrats regain the White House as Obama is elected the United States’ first black president. Though he draws barely more than 40 percent of the popular vote, he receives 353 electoral votes. Paul carries Alaska, but other independents flop. Democrats gain four seats in the Senate and 12 in the House. Laura Bush wins Texas’ Senate race with 77 percent of the vote, but the Texas House ends up in a 75-75 partisan tie.
DECEMBER: President-elect Obama names Bill Clinton his secretary of state, McCain his secretary of defense and Lieberman his attorney general. Congress, in a lame-duck session, passes a Democratic budget and SCHIP expansion over Bush’s vetoes. MSNBC talk show host Chris Matthews speculates that Mrs. Bush might seek the presidency in 2012.
Carl P. Leubsdorf is Washington bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News. Comment at email@example.com.