The presidential race for 2008 officially began yesterday with the Iowa caucuses, which means it's time to get to know the candidates.

Twelve months from now, one of them is going to be your president.

While waiting for the dust from Iowa to settle and the all-important New Hampshire primaries to begin, take this short quiz to assess how well you know the contenders (answers at the end of the column):

1. Name the candidate whose parents were staunch Republicans, who started out as a staunch Republican and is now running as a Democrat.

2. Name the candidate whose parents were staunch Democrats, who started out as a staunch Democrat and is now running as a Republican.

3. Name the candidate who racked up so many demerits at the U.S. Naval Academy he was constantly in jeopardy of being expelled.

4. Name the candidate whose father and grandfather were both four-star admirals in the U.S. Navy.

5. Name the candidate who made $8 million-plus in one lawsuit.

6. Name the candidate who was named after a famous mountain climber.

7. Name the candidate who was born and raised in a log cabin.

8. Name the candidate who produced the financing that turned a small stationery shop into the world's largest office products retailer.

9. Name the candidate who currently plays bass guitar in a rock band called "Capitol Offense."

10. Name the candidate who has already been a U.S. president.

11. Name the candidate who grew up in Mexico City and played minor league baseball in America.

12. Name the candidate whose father was associated with the mafia and served time in Sing Sing.

13. Name the candidate who, as U.S. attorney, aggressively and successfully prosecuted the mafia.

14. Name the candidate whose mother was American and father was Kenyan.

15. Name the candidate whose mother was Mexican and father was American.

16. Name the candidate who four years ago weighed over 300 pounds, lost 110 pounds in about a year, and wrote a book about it called "Quit Digging Your Grave With a Knife and Fork."

17. Name the candidate who was born in Panama.

18. Name the candidate who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth.

19. Name the candidate whose son won a national essay-writing contest and was honored by then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

20. Name the candidate who was a radio disc jockey before he became an ordained Baptist minister.

21. Name the candidate who took a job in television while he was still a U.S. senator.

The answers:

1. Hillary Clinton.

2. Rudy Giuliani.

3. John McCain.

4. McCain.

5. John Edwards, who as a trial lawyer in 1997 received one-third of a $25 million settlement against a company for a defective pool drain cover.

6. None. Hillary Clinton mistakenly believed she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, the conqueror of Mount Everest, until she realized she was born in 1947 and Hillary didn't climb Everest and become famous until 1953.

7. Abraham Lincoln, in the 1860 campaign.

8. Mitt Romney, who, as COO in 1985 of the venture capital firm Bain Capital, took a gamble on a local Boston stationery shop owner who wanted to produce a mega-office supplies store. Three years later, Staples Inc. went public at $13 million.

9. Mike Huckabee.

10. Fred Thompson. As an actor, he was cast as the U.S. president in the 2005 HBO movie, "Last Best Chance."

11. Bill Richardson.

12. Giuliani.

13. Giuliani.

14. Barack Obama.

15. Richardson.

16. Huckabee.

17. McCain.

18. Rudy Giuliani, for his role as New York mayor in the aftermath of 9/11.

19. Edwards.

20. Huckabee.

21. Thompson, who signed on as the D.A. in "Law and Order" prior to the expiration of his term as senator from Tennessee.


Lee Benson's column runs Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Please send e-mail to [email protected] and faxes to 801-237-2527.