Hillary: Filling the Boots of the Gipper

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It was one of those in-the-shower brainstorms for pollster John Zogby: Let's see which past A-list president voters wish they could put in the Oval Office to fix the nation and which of the major 2008 presidential hopefuls best matches that pick. Drumroll, please. In order: Ronald Reagan, at 28 percent, FDR at 26 percent, JFK at 21 percent, Abraham Lincoln at 16 percent, and just 6 percent for George Washington. And who's viewed as most Reaganesque? Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. She also grabs the FDR and Washington mantle but falls far short of upstart Sen. Barack Obama for the JFK title.

Zogby says there are several messages from his just completed poll, provided exclusively to Whispers. Most obvious: If voters want a Reaganesque or Rooseveltian firm hand and vision in the White House, then Clinton looks like a good bet. But if they prefer the inspiration of JFK and Lincoln, then Obama's their guy. "It looks like youthful vigor has the best crossover appeal," says Zogby. It's not so clear on the GOP side. Only Rudy Giuliani scores well, seen as the most Lincoln-like and beating Sen. John McCain in every "most like" category. Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney ranks last in all but one. Zogby sees a biblical race between Jeremiah and Moses in how some major themes play out. "Moses had a plan to get to the Promised Land, and for Jeremiah the sky was falling." Who wins? "Hopefulness is the key."

With Angie C. Marek