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Politically correct

The Baltimore Sun

This is what happens when you try to watch the Orange Bowl and the Iowa caucuses at the same time: The mind starts to wander and football starts to imitate life and - all of a sudden - you're trying to figure out just which presidential candidate would make the best Ravens coach.

Hey, I've heard so many names thrown around since Steve Bisciotti fired Brian Billick that it wouldn't surprise me all that much if Barack Obama or Mike Huckabee were somewhere on the list of possible candidates, especially when you examine the reasons Bisciotti is seeking new leadership and the characteristics he is looking for in his new coach.

He talked about "the time for a change" and "fresh blood" and a few other generalizations that would fit easily into a stump speech in New Hampshire, so I thought it might be amusing to take a look at how each of the national candidates might fit the job description.

Mike Huckabee

Positives: Ordained Southern Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor who won Iowa's Republican straw vote Thursday. He is an aggressive leader who thinks the best defense is a great offense, which would represent a clear change in philosophy for the Ravens. More importantly, he was born in the same state as Brooks Robinson. His book is titled From Hope to Higher Ground.

Negatives: Known for his disarming personality, which might make Steve McNair uncomfortable so soon after shoulder surgery.

Barack Obama

Positives: He was once the political flavor of the month and has emerged as a true front-runner on the Democratic side, but his skills might be wasted in politics. He's a great motivator, and he has sort of a Tony Dungy thing going on, always talking about honesty and integrity. His latest book is called The Audacity of Hope. Jonathan Ogden probably has read it and likely will take that into consideration when he decides whether to return next year.

Negatives: Experience is an issue. Sure, he has looked good in the preseason, but is he really ready to lead an NFL team to the Super Bowl?

Hillary Clinton

Positives: First woman to make a serious run at the presidential nomination also would be first female head coach in the NFL. Would be tough, no-nonsense coach in the mold of Bill Cowher, albeit with a slightly less pronounced jawbone. Just a hunch, but Ray Lewis would probably think twice before second-guessing her play-calling on his radio show. Her book, It Takes a Village, is ostensibly about child-rearing but is really an allegorical treatise on football coaching philosophy and teamwork. Her husband's book, Between Hope and History, fulfills obligation to have a book with "Hope" in the title.

Negatives: Bill skulking around the cheerleaders.

Mitt Romney

Positives: Seeking to be first U.S. president whose real first name is Willard. Also would be first Mormon president if elected. Romney, nicknamed Mitt after his favorite baseball glove, has solid sports experience after pulling the 2002 Olympics' Salt Lake Organizing Committee out of a financial crisis. His book about that experience is called Turnaround. Obviously, that title would already be taken when he writes his book about leading the Ravens back to the Super Bowl next year.

Negatives: Might insist that every first-round draft choice come from Brigham Young.

Rudolph Giuliani

Positives: Former New York mayor and racket-busting U.S. attorney would restore discipline in Ravens locker room and outline clear game plan for future.

Negatives: Blatant front-runner when Yankees won World Series every year. No longer front-runner in race.

John Edwards

Positives: Slick millionaire lawyer should make easy transition into football coaching with the help of his spiritual mentor, Nick Saban.

Negatives: "Two Americas" speech will ring hollow in Ravens locker room because most players are from the America where you don't pay $400 for a haircut.

John McCain

Positives: Made the fight against illegal performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports a priority of his Senate committee. Former POW has compelling story of heroism and sacrifice. Wrote a book titled Hard Call, which had nothing to do with which play you should send in on third-and-short in the red zone.

Negatives: Home team is the Arizona Cardinals. Once got confused and asked Virginia Gov. Mark Warner if he minded playing behind Matt Leinart.

Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon most Saturdays and Sundays.

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