"The PM has been saying for months this is a two-horse race," Mr Abbott told the Nine Network.So Abbott is blaming Howard's skill as a jockey rather than the Liberal Party horse. And he implies that it has been a long time since they last considered who should be in the saddle. Interesting.
"Obviously, one horse, or jockey perhaps, is well in front at the moment.
"(But) we made the judgment back in the middle of last year that John Howard was by far the best politician to lead the country.
"I still think that's the case and I think that's the view of the party room."
Watch for the Howard smackdown and the forced clarifications. But the cat is out of the bag at last.
UPDATE: I am now taking bets on who will be the next Liberal leader, and what date the changeover will come. My bet: Turnbull on Jun 24th.