Best bet (in keeping with the time-honored Congressional tradition): Blunt will win. We'll lay 2 tickets to Branson's Shoji Tabuchi Show on the line. Mr. Steel? Mr. Smith? (Just do us a favor and don't wager the following: Suntan lotion... a username for RedState... a date with Terry Holt).
Best talking the talk: Team Shadegg-ellic. Last time we checked, Mini-Mo wasn't anything to brag about. Yeeeah, baby!
Best walking the walk: Team Blunt. Never wavering from the basics (Members, Members, Members), never forgetting our audience (Members, Members, Members) and wracking up supporters (Members, Members and More Members!)
From Team Shadegg's Michael Steel:
What Team Blunt doesn't want Members to think about this weekend:
1) Are commitments made in a 2-way race binding in a 3-way race?
2) Congressional approval is lower than any time since 1994
3) If the bulk of the Florida delegation backs one candidate, and that candidate loses, is that good for Florida?
4) Ditto Texas
5) The cover of National Review
6) Why would anyone secretly commit to Blunt? He's the incumbent AND the frontrunner.
7) What does the media coverage look like on Feb. 3 if Blunt wins? What stories appear on Sunday, Feb. 5? What is the coverage like through November?
8) House Republicans don't get the credit they deserve on the economy, War on Terror, etc. Will that get better if Blunt is elected?
9) How happy will the base be?
10) Let's say it together: "SECRET BALLOT"
It's not over til Feb.2.
Kevin Smith from Congressman Boehner's office weighs in with this:
This race is going to come down to one thing: leadership.
Who has the leadership skills to unite Republicans? Who can provide the leadership necessary to renew our courage and confidence to tackle the big issues like entitlement spending? And who has the leadership qualities to communicate our united Republican message to the American people?
John's the only candidate with a plan to help lead House Republicans in a new direction. He's the only candidate with a plan for lobbying and earmark reforms ... for institutional reform ... and budget reform.
John has talked with his colleagues about unifying behind a common vision. That's real leadership. Whether as a small business owner, a president of his homeowners' association, a state legislator, an upstart backbencher, or an effective committee chair, John Boehner has led with a vision. Now, he's ready to do the same as Majority Leader.
Terry Holt, Gray Beard:
Terry Holt, a longtime adviser to Congressman Boehner, is also a wizend veteran of the Washington wars. Since the world of Republican strategists operates on the same rules of "The Capital Gang," Holt is exercising a point of personal privilege and demanding space in today's Note.
Who are we to argue or resist?
Thus, Holt writes:
Having been randomly mentioned in The Note in the last several days, I thought I might pass along some advice to all the bright, young, hard-working press secretaries out there working so hard to help their bosses in the upcoming leadership elections.
Whether you are the very example of dignity or perhaps "vaguely repentant," please reflect on these lessons learned, sometimes the hard way, over 20 years in this dubious profession.
Press Secretary 101, the top ten things to know about being a good flack:
10. Stay on message, but make sure its good message.