We SUPPORT and ENDORSE JOHN EDWARDS, HILLARY CLINTON , Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich, Tom Vilsack, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, John Kerry , Wesley Clark and their SUPPORTERS AND OTHER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES




Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sen. Hillary Clinton formally launches 2008 presidential bid

Sen. Hillary Clinton formally launches 2008 presidential bid
WASHINGTON — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton formally became a candidate for U.S. president, announcing on her website this morning that she would seek to become the first woman to be elected to the position."I'm in. And I'm in to win," Clinton said in a statement published on her official site. Clinton said she would form a presidential campaign exploratory committee, allowing her to raise and spend funds in pursuit of the White House.
If elected, Clinton would take office eight years after her husband, Bill Clinton, completed his second presidential term. The announcement had been widely expected; Clinton leads all likely Democratic presidential candidates in national opinion polls. A USA TODAY/Gallup poll released Tuesday showed Clinton was backed by 29% of national Democrats, followed by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama at 18% and former vice presidential candidate John Edwards at 13%.
However, polls in key early primary states are closer. In Iowa, which holds the nation's first caucus, a Research 2000 poll conducted Dec. 18-20 for KCCI-TV puts Obama in a tie with Edwards. In New Hampshire, site of the first primary, a Concord Monitor poll conducted just before Christmas put Clinton and Obama in a tie.
Obama, in a statement issued almost immediately after the Clinton announcement, called Clinton "a good friend and a colleague whom I greatly respect. I welcome her and all the candidates, not as competitors, but as allies in the work of getting our country back on track."
In the website statement, Clinton said she would hold online chats "in the next few days" to discuss "the bold but practical changes we need to overcome six years of Bush administration failures."
"Only a new president can renew the promise of America — the idea that if you work hard you can count on the health care, education, and retirement security that you need to raise your family. These are the basic values of America that are under attack from this administration every day," Clinton said. "And only a new president can regain America's position as a respected leader in the world."
EMILY's List, which raises money for Democratic women candidates who support abortion rights, endorsed Clinton's all but certain candidacy and pledged to help her campaign. "I am one of the millions of women who have waited all their lives to see the first woman sworn in as president of the United States — and now we have our best opportunity to see that dream fulfilled," said Ellen Malcolm, founder and president of the group.
She said no one is more qualified than Clinton to lead the nation. "As Senator Clinton begins her historic journey, EMILY's List will be with her every step of the way," Malcolm said in a statement.
The announcement was the latest step in the 59-year-old Clinton's remarkable political and personal journey — from Arkansas attorney to first lady to New York senator to front-runner for the Democratic nomination.
A polarizing figure since she burst on the national scene during her husband's first presidential campaign, Clinton engenders strong opinions among voters, many of whom revere or revile her but rarely remain ambivalent.
In comparing Clinton to her husband, many political observers have found her lacking his natural charisma. Others have criticized her for seeming overly cautious and calculating when voters often say they crave authenticity.
Some Democrats, eager to reclaim the White House after eight years of President Bush, fret that she carries too much baggage from her husband's presidency to win a general election. During Bill Clinton's White House tenure, she was best known for her failed attempt in 1993 to overhaul the nation's health care system and for standing by her husband after his marital infidelity.
The senator's allies counter by citing her strengths — intelligence, depth of experience, work ethic and immense command of policy detail. Advisers argue those skills, plus her popularity among women and younger voters, position her strongly for the primary and general election.
In her first run for the Senate in 2000 from New York — a state where she had never lived and where she was branded a carpetbagger by many — Clinton won a landslide victory. Through dogged campaigning — including a "listening tour" of the state's 62 counties — Clinton was able to convince voters even in the conservative upstate region that she would represent them effectively in Washington.
Clinton's move comes only a few days after Obama announced he was forming an exploratory committee. Edwards made his announcement in late December.
Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., formally declared his candidacy Saturday in Topeka. A social conservative known for his efforts to fight poverty and AIDS, in his announcement he said people should be able to choose alternatives to the current Social Security and tax systems. He proposed an alternative flat tax as an option for taxpayers and freedom to leave the Social Security system with benefits guaranteed.
Brownback also called for a bipartisan policy to end the war in Iraq and "a culture of compassion ... to protect all innocent human life." On Monday Brownback plans to join the annual March for Life, marking the Supreme Court's ruling that legalized abortion, and hold a reception for marchers.
Also currently in the running for the Democratic bid are Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut; Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio; and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico — a former official in the presidential administration of Clinton's husband — is expected to announce Sunday he will form an exploratory committee.
Contributing: USA TODAY's Randy Lilleston, Jill Lawrence; Associated Press.
Posted 1/20/2007 8:35 AM ET Updated 1/20/2007 5:33 PM ET E-mail Save Print Reprints & Permissions Subscribe to stories like this
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