Not sure who you’re voting for in 2008? The Illinois primaries are in February, which means you have only four months to get educated on the likely presidential candidates. The Closer is here to help. I’ve provided a selection of what I consider to be critical facts about seven White House hopefuls. To make things easier, each tidbit has been assigned a point value, based on how much it adds to or detracts from a candidate’s desirability. Remember, an informed populace is a safe populace.

MITT ROMNEY, 60 (R-Mass.)
• Favorite movie: Raiders of the Lost Ark (+3)
• Favorite food: meat-loaf cakes (–6)
• Named for a relative who played quarterback for the Bears in the 1920s (+5)
• Really into The Purpose Driven Life (–3)
• In 1968, was thrown from his Ci­-troën after being hit by a drunken driver in France. Believing Romney dead, a police officer wrote “Il est mort” on Romney’s passport (+10)
• Wears a ski parka in a photo on his MySpace page (–6)

• Former board member, Children’s Defense Fund (+4)
• Former board member, TCBY Yogurt Company (–2)
• Helped secure $21.4 billion for World Trade Center site’s redevelopment (+10)
• Recent music purchase: Carly Simon’s Into White (–5)
• Named 18th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes (+8)
• Google search for “Hate Hillary Clinton” turned up two million hits (–4)
• Has said she was named for Edmund Hillary, the first Westerner to climb Mount Everest (+3)
• Edmund Hillary didn’t climb Everest until five years after her birth (–3)

JOHN MCCAIN, 71 (R-Ariz.)
• Awarded countless medals for his years of naval service (+10)
• Talks incessantly about barbecue grilling (–2)
• Has fought recurrent skin cancer bravely (+7)
• Middle name is Sidney (–4)
• Pets include dogs, a cat, and numerous fish (+3)
• And turtles, parakeets, and a ferret (–3)
• Called Jerry Falwell an “agent of intolerance” in 2000 (+5)
• Gave commencement address at Falwell’s Liberty University in 2006 (–10)

• First black president of Harvard Law Review (+5)
• Went by “Barry” in high school (–2)
• Position on Iraq from the beginning: “I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.” (+7)
• Lack of experience led Chicago Tribune’s John Kass to dub him “Obambi” (–4)
• Has been photographed without shirt on (–2)
• Looked halfway decent (+7)
• Favorite TV show: SportsCenter (+3)
• Other favorite TV show: U.S. Senate on C-SPAN (–4)

• Became “America’s mayor” after 9/11 (+8)
• Doesn’t drive (–3)
• Made a funny 1993 cameo on Seinfeld (+4)
• Made an unfunny 2003 cameo in Anger Management (–6)
• Beat prostate cancer (+5)
• Was described as “one of the most consistent cheerleaders for the president’s handling of the war in Iraq” (–8)
• Was named an honorary British knight (+6)
• Married his second cousin (–12)

• Former jobs included truck driver and shoe salesman (+4)
• Former jobs included lawyer and lobbyist (-6)
• First family member to go to college (+7)
• Is skeptical that humanity is to blame for global warming (-4)
• You can buy a shirt that reads: ”Fred Thompson ’08: Kill the terrorists. Protect the borders. Punch the hippies.” (+6)
• Followed up role in Cape Fear with role in Aces: Iron Eagle III (-7)
• A 1994 New York Times article said, “When Hollywood directors need someone who can personify governmental power, they often turn to him.” (+3)
• This is real life. (-6)

• First car: Plymouth Duster (+2)
• First job: soda jerk (+3)
• First presidential hopeful to appear on YouTube putting on makeup (–10)
• People magazine named him “sexiest politician alive” in 2000 (+7)
• Served as John Kerry’s VP nominee in lame 2004 White House bid (–2)
• No longer speaking to Kerry (+8)
• Says there are two Americas: one for the rich and one for the poor (+3)
• Lives in the one where he can charge $55,000 for a speech on poverty (–6)


1. Clinton: 11 points
2. Obama: 10 points
3. McCain: 6 points
4. Edwards: 5 points
5. Romney: 3 points
6. Thompson: –3 points
7 . Giuliani: –6 points

Disclaimer: This poll, while based in complex scientific methodology, does not represent a Closer endorsement for Hillary Clinton. I’ll be throwing in with former Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg. Again.