WASHINGTON - And the leading Republican presidential candidate is ... none of the above.Who is this mystery candidate that the media can never figure out? Well, he can't even make the list of lesser-knowns or longshots.
The latest Associated Press-Ipsos poll found that nearly a quarter of Republicans are unwilling to back top-tier hopefuls Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John McCain or Mitt Romney, and no one candidate has emerged as the clear front-runner among Christian evangelicals.
Nine Republicans and one all-but-declared hopeful, Thompson, make up the crowded GOP field. It shrunk in recent days when former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, an underfunded long shot, dropped out. Such discontent with the top-tier could lead Republicans to reconsider lesser-knowns such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee or Kansas Sen. Sam BrownbackAnd to imagine this is published on the Internet, that fictitious place where Ron Paul exists.