editor's note: We asked the Mail Tribune's Editorial Advisory Board to name their favorites so far among the presidential candidates.

editor's note: We asked the Mail Tribune's Editorial Advisory Board to name their favorites so far among the presidential candidates.

Favorites? Oh dear. The Republicans have three candidates who make cave-dwellers seem progressive, a cross-dressing ex-mayor, a "stay-the-course" warmonger, an ex-governor whose waffling puts that of his opponents to shame, and — ooooooh — maybe a television star. The Dems seem to be staging a beauty contest, what with all that good hair in profusion. I'd like to hear more from/about Bill Richardson — but a favorite? Not yet.

— Nancy Pagani

The defining issue of the 2008 elections is the war on terror. Unfortunately, as Kathleen Parker recently wrote, "Americans are in denial about the present danger of radical Islam, and Congress is complicit in that denial." The future of our nation is dependant on how our elected leaders deal with terrorism, illegal immigration and dependence on foreign oil. Attention to a broken tax system and unsustainable entitlements also would be desirable. The liberal platform appears to be defeat, retreat, and tax-and-spend socialism. The lone Reaganesque, electable, conservative patriot is Fred Thompson. Hopefully, he will enter the race.

— David Boals

My favorite Republican candidate is Mitt Romney. He has a proven record of accomplishment in business and politics and he is the only major Republican candidate who is still married to his original wife. My favorite Democratic candidates are Barack Obama and Joe Biden. I like Biden's foreign policy experience and Obama's intelligence, energy and passion.

— Doug Schmor

If I had to pick one candidate from either party, I would have to say it would be Rudy Giuliani. I think Giuliani would be more concerned about making a big impact in his first term and not be so concerned about supporting party politics. I still marvel at how he handled 9/11 and how quickly he got New York City turned back around after that horrendous experience.

— Ed Chun

And they're off! Hillary is leading Barack by half a length, and Rudy's up on Mitt by a nose ... but we're not even to the first turn yet.

Presidential campaigns have progressed from smoke-filled rooms into YouTube, but we have yet to construct a system that selects the strongest candidates. Since 1972, an admirable desire to increase public input has evolved into a popularity contest that is too lengthy and too expensive.

— Michael Wing

Rudy and Hillary — money, political connections and a familiar name make them logical choices, Bill's long-suffering wife and the hero of 9/11. Both parties may view them as a can't-lose canidate. Both can!

Neither would be my preference. I would like to see Obama and Thompson. Both are exciting and not beltway darlings and either would be a improvement over dubya!

— Richard Davis

I would vote for any Democratic candidate, after the mess that the Republicans have gotten us into on practically every front, but particularly the "unwinnable war"!

My number one choice as a Democratic candidate is John Edwards. I heard him speak in Medford, and what struck me most was his sincerity, and that he can totally relate to the common person and their problems. Joe Biden is good, too.

Republican? perhaps Romney — he seems honest.

— Diane Stewart