JOHN YDSTIE, host:
The candidates for the White House are tailoring their campaigns to the early primary schedule.
And commentator Frank Deford is making adjustments, too.
FRANK DEFORD: How do politicians resemble sports figures? This is our usual quadrennial exercise, but because the primary calendar has been moved forward, we also have to come out now in order to stay ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire.
So if Barack Obama were in sports, he would be Roger Federer - so stylish, so smooth. We just don't know yet whether Obama is the stylish and smooth Roger Federer of 2002 who didn't win, or the stylish and smooth Roger Federer of 2007 who wins almost everything.
Rudy Giuliani would be Bill Belichick. Both are truculent, and both have one thing going for them: Belichick has Tom Brady, and Giuliani has 9/11.
Mitt Romney thinks he's Derek Jeter. Of course, he used to think he was Alex Rodriguez.
Fred Thompson is the guy on the football team who doesn't do anything but hold the ball for extra points and field goals. The rest of the game, he can sit back and take it easy.
John Edwards is the Iowa Hawkeyes. Mike Huckabee is the Iowa State Cyclones. Only sometimes, John Edwards is the Iowa State Cyclones, and Mike Huckabee is the Iowa Hawkeyes.
John McCain is Phil Mickelson, don't you think? That's perfect.
Bill Richardson is Lou Piniella. Richardson even looks a little like a chubby Piniella, and they both are experienced and have held lots of jobs. Of course, just Richardson's luck, Sweet Lou is now the manager of the Chicago Cubs, who haven't won in the last 99 years.
Joe Biden is the best soccer player in the United States - only, of course, nobody has ever heard of him.
Chris Dodd is the best badminton player in the United States - only, of course, nobody's ever heard of him, either.
Ron Paul is Manny Ramirez, of Manny-being-Manny fame. When Paul starts talking in the Republican debates, you can just see all the other candidates shaking their heads as if to say, oh, it's just Ron being Ron again.
Hillary Clinton is Dean Smith, the great North Carolina basketball coach. Dean had a strategy called the four corners, which he would often use when he was ahead in the game. The idea was just to sit on the lead. It worked a lot, if when he was still going for his first national championship in the finals of 1977, Coach Smith went into the four corners too early, and he lost to Marquette, which kept going for the basket.
YDSTIE: Frank Deford joins us each Wednesday from member station WSHU in Fairfield, Connecticut.
And who in sports does President Bush resemble? You can hear Frank's take at npr.org.
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