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BLOG ARCHIVE: JANUARY 16-31, 2007.

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

RE-RUNS; KY FILINGS; OBAMA'S PLAN; BIDEN ANNOUNCES (AGAIN); FL TO SCRAP TOUCHSCREENS.
With recently defeated Congressman Jeb Bradley (R-NH), Jim Ryun (R-KS) and Richard Pombo (R-CA) all considering comeback races for 2008, National Journal's Hotline is out with an interesting stat. Of the "nearly 200" rematch attempts run since 1998, only 10 were successful (and six of those ten were in 2006) ... Statewide candidate filing closed Tuesday in Kentucky. Embattled Governor Ernie Fletcher (R) will face a very tough primary challenge from former Congresswoman Anne Northup (R) and one other. On the Democratic side, seven candidates filed -- including five major contenders: former Lieutenant Governors Steve Beshear and Steve Henry, State Treasurer Jonathan Miller, State House Speaker Jody Richards, and wealthy businessman Bruce Lunsford. Attorney General Greg Stumbo filed as the Lieutenant Governor candidate on Lunsford's ticket, former Secretary of State John Y. Brown III is Richards' runningmate, '04 US Senate nominee Dan Mongiardo is running with Beshear, and State House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover is on Northup's ticket. Click here to see all the Kentucky statewide candidates ... US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) was finally able to force Senate Republicans to end their filibuster
against the minimum wage increase. After threatening to table the wage increase entirely and move on to floor debate on the Iraq War if the delay tactics didn't end, GOP Senators caved. By a 87-10 vote, Senators invoked cloture and ended the filibuster ... US Senator Barack Obama (D) announced his detailed plan to end the Iraq War and redeploy American troops out of Iraq ... US Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) will announce his official, official, really really official candidacy for President on Wednesday and file FEC paperwork. By our count, that's like the 362nd time Biden has announced he's running in 2008 ... Florida Governor Charlie Crist (R) will announce a new plan this week to end the use of touchscreen voting machines in the state. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Crist will call for scrapping the machines used by 15 counties and spending at least $20 million in state funds to help the counties buy optical scanners that read paper ballots. Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL) called Crist's plan "bold and comprehensive" and praised the Governor for showing "the highest form of bipartisan partnership." Wexler had fought with former Governor Jeb Bush (R) in Florida and federal courts for the past few years to end the use of touchscreen machines in the state.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.31.07 | Permalink |

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The daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.31.07 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

NH NUMBERS; FRANKEN '08; MOORE, SCHILLING RESIST DRAFT; THE P2008 "OTHER GUYS."
A new WBZ-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows a close GOP race for President among likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters. The numbers: Rudy Giuliani - 33%, John McCain - 32%, Mitt Romney - 21%, Others - 11%. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton held a solid lead with 40%, followed by Barack Obama at 25%, John Edwards at 23% and other Dems with a combined total of 9% ... Liberal radio talk show host, comic and author Al Franken (D-MN) announced on his Air America show that he will give up his daily radio show in a few weeks to explore a run next year against US Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN). Congresswoman Betty McCollum and former State Senator Dean Johnson are also mentioned as possible Dem candidates against Coleman in 2008 ... Candidate filing for the 2007 statewide races in Kentucky closes on Tuesday ... Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) denied any interest in running this year against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D), despite a buzz from those urging her to run. "She is proud of Mayor Barrett and the job he is doing for the city of Milwaukee ... The Congresswoman is delighted where she is right now. She's in the majority. She'll have more power to serve the interests of her district and bring more resources back to Milwaukee," said Moore's spokesperson ... Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling (R) shot down any interest in running against US Senator John Kerry in 2008. Instead, he's seeking a contract extension through the 2008 season ... Who are Karl Krueger (D), Hugh Cort (R), Millie Howard (R), Sal Mohamed (D), Michael Smith (R), and Dan Francis (D)? They are among the many little-known but announced Presidential hopefuls who have already filed with the FEC to run in 2008. You can find all of them on our P2008 page.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.30.07 | Permalink |

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Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.30.07 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

HUCKABEE IN; JOE ASSERTS INDEPENDENCE; CHARLIE IN CHARGE.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) confirmed on the Sunday talk shows that he is filing Presidential exploratory committee paperwork on Monday. By Sunday evening, he launched his new campaign website ... Speaking on Fox News Sunday, US Senator Joe Lieberman (Ind.Dem-CT) said he may not support the Dem nominee for President in 2008. "I'm going to do what most independents and a lot of Democrats and Republicans in America do, which is to take a look at all the candidates and then in the end, regardless of party, decide who I think will be best for the future of our country. So I'm open to supporting a Democrat, Republican or even an Independent, if there's a strong one ... I am genuinely an independent. I agree more often than not with Democrats on domestic policy. I agree more often than not with Republicans on foreign and defense policy," he explained ... In Florida, Governor Charlie Crist (R) was able this weekend to wrest control of the Florida Republican Party away from Jeb Bush loyalists and into the hands of his close allies. Crist ran little-known Oviedo City Commissioner Jim Greer for state chair -- against two-term incumbent State Chair Carole Jean Jordan, a Bush loyalist -- and won by a 102-89 vote. "Change is good," said Crist. Since taking office a few weeks ago, Crist has replaced many conservative Bush loyalists with GOP centrists more aligned with Crist's outlook. One of those replaced was Allan Bense, the immediate past Florida House Speaker and a close Bush ally. The Miami Herald reported Crist's demand for storm insurance reform and state-mandated lower insurance rates "forced [GOP legislative leaders] to become more consumer-friendly and turn away from the business interests favored by" Bush. "Jeb Bush is probably not a happy camper right now. Charlie Crist led us to a place where none of us wanted to go
... but we're in a [insurance] crisis situation," said State Representative David Rivera (R). A leading State House Democrat -- who helped push Crist's insurance package to passage in last week's special session -- told Politics1 that "Charlie is the best Democratic Governor we've had since LeRoy Collins."

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.29.07 | Permalink |

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Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.29.07 | Permalink |

WEEKEND OPEN THREAD.

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
AP is reporting former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) will file Presidential exploratory committee paperwork on Monday.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.27.07 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

NEW GORE BUZZ; EX-SEN CANDIDATES FIND NEW JOBS; TRACKIN' TESTER.
Democratic consultant Jim Carville believes former Vice President Al Gore will eventually jump into the 2008 White House race. "He's going to run, and he's going to be formidable. If he didn't run, I'd be shocked," he told Rolling Stone ... The Illinois Green Party is now an officially recognized party in the eyes of the state officials, meaning the party now has automatic ballot status for all races in the state. They owe this new status to the 2006 gubernatorial candidacy of attorney Rich Whitney, who finished with 10% ... Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor and '06 US Senate nominee Michael Steele (R) is the new head of GOPAC, the Republican PAC the gained prominence under Newt Gingrich's leadership in the 1980s. Also, former Congressman and '06 US Senate nominee Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN) was officially named the new leader of the DLC ... US Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) has kept an unusual promise he made on the campaign trail. As promised, Tester posts his complete daily schedules into an online archive on his Senate website so constituents will know of everyone he meets with. The schedule even has his personal information like dinners with the family and workout time in the Senate gym. He even listed a hallway "hello" he had with a group of beer industry lobbyists. Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) also posts her daily schedule on her government website, but unlike Tester she does not archive past days.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.26.07 | Permalink |

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Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.26.07 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

KERRY OUT; HOGWASH; DeLAY WEIGHS IN; MINIMUM WAGE HIKE HELD HOSTAGE IN SENATE.
US Senator John Kerry (D-MA) announced Wednesday he will not make a second run for President in 2008. "I've concluded this is not the time for me to mount a Presidential campaign, but to put my energy into working with the majority of the Senate ... [to] change the policy in Iraq that threatens all that I have fought for since I came home from Vietnam," said Kerry. Although he was sitting on millions in cash left unspent from the 2004 race, recent polls were not kind to Kerry. He lagged in the single digits and his awkward joke -- seen as anti-soldier -- on the eve the 2006 elections seemed to seal his fate. Instead, Kerry plans to seek re-election in 2008. With no significant opposition likely, Kerry is a safe bet to win another term ... In an appearance on CNN, Vice President Dick Cheney dismissed as "hogwash" the suggestion that Bush Administration blunders and failures in Iraq have caused Congressional Republicans to question the White House's credibility ... Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) was rather critical of former Speaker Denny Hastert (R-IL) for endorsing Mitt Romney for President this week. "I'm a little surprised that Hastert endorsed this early. It's not usually what Denny does -- he's usually very methodical and thinks through," said DeLay to The Hill. Part of DeLay's annoyance seems to be his distrust of Romney as a phony conservative. "Both [Huckabee] and Brownback are fiscal and cultural conservatives and they believe it down to the depths of their souls," he explained ... Senate Republicans are filibustering to block the Democratic bill to raise the minimum wage. The bill passed by a solid margin with bipartisan support in the House. The Republicans are holding the bill hostage in exchange for getting a tax cut for businesses. Dems attempted to invoke cloture to end the filibuster, but fell six votes short on the first try Wednesday.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.25.07 | Permalink |

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Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.25.07 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

EDWARDS, GIULIANI LEAD IN IOWA; MI CD-7 UPDATE; GAY MARRIAGE BAN AMENDMENT DEAD.
Strategic Vision (R) is out with a new independent poll of Iowa voters. On the Democratic side, former US Senator John Edwards leads the field with 25%, followed by US Senator Barack Obama at 17%, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack at 15%, US Senator Hillary Clinton at 12%, US Senator Joe Biden at 4% and the rest even further behind. On the GOP side, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani was first with 25%, US Senator John McCain had 21%, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was third with 13%, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney had 8%, US Senator Chuck Hagel had 7%, and all the others were at 2% or less apiece. When Republicans were asked if President Bush is "a conservative Republican in the mode of Ronald Reagan," only 11% agreed ... Former Vice President Al Gore said he was "thrilled" with the two Oscar nominations announced Tuesday for his Inconvenient Truth documentary on global warming ... According to the Detroit News, social conservative freshman Congressman Tim Walberg (R) may face a rematch in 2008 from the man he ousted in last year's primary. Former Congressman Joe Schwarz (R) promises to make a decision on the race within six months. "Tim Walberg will be an ineffective back bench-bencher," one close Schwarz political associate told the newspaper. It would be the third contest between the two men, as Schwartz
defeated Walberg for the open seat in 2004. National Journal's Hotline, meanwhile, reports there is also a lot of buzz in Michigan that Schwarz may make the rematch run in '08 as a Democrat ... Primary sponsors US Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) and Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) told reporters this week they are giving up on their attempts to revive a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. "If we thought there was a decent chance to bring it to the floor for debate, I would, but with the new Congress, I'm not sure we will ever have that opportunity," Allard told the Pueblo Colorado Chieftain. Musgrave's spokesperson said she does not even intend to reintroduce the amendment. It was voted down in 2004 and 2006 in politically motivated congressional floor votes planned by the Republican Leadership to occur in the lead-up to Election Day.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.24.07 | Permalink |

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Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.24.07 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

MORE ANTI-SURGE SENS; KY GOV NEWS; POLITICAL STORM; OBAMA ATTACK DEBUNKED.
On the eve of the President's State of the Union Address, more Congressional leaders lined up against the Bush Administration's plan for an escalation in the Iraq War. On Monday, US Senator John Warner (R-VA), Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Norm Coleman (R-MN) announced they were introducing a resolution opposing the President's plans to send an additional 21,500 American soldiers to Iraq. The proposal is similar to the Levin-Hagel-Biden proposal last week, but with much less confrontational language. Warner, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee and a former US Navy Secretary, said he does not want to see US troops caught in the crossfire of sectarian violence, “the origins of which sometimes go back thousands of years.” Meanwhile, the VoteVets.org group released a statement Monday saying US Senators Arlen Spector (R-PA) and John Sununu (R-NH) were opposed to Bush's troop "surge" plans for Iraq ... In Kentucky, US Senator Jim Bunning (R) endorsed former Congresswoman Anne Northup on Monday in her primary challenge to Governor Ernie Fletcher (R). Also, former Lieutenant Governor Steve Henry (D) and State House Speaker Jody Richards (D) will both announce gubernatorial candidacies this week. Richards' runningmate will be former Secretary of State John Y. Brown III ... Speaking in New York over the weekend, former FEMA Director Michael Brown said the White House played "disgusting" partisan politics in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Brown said he recommended the President federalize all 90,000 square miles along the Gulf Coast impacted by the hurricane. In response, Brown explained, "certain people in the White House were thinking, 'We had to federalize Louisiana because she's a white, female Democratic governor, and we have a chance to rub her nose in it. We can't do it to [Mississippi Governor] Haley [Barbour] because Haley's a white male Republican Governor, and we can't do a thing to him. So we're just gonna federalize Louisiana.'" A White House spokesman was quick to respond: "It is unfortunate that Mike Brown is still hurling false statements about the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina." Governor Blanco had a different reaction: "Karl Rove was playing politics while our people were dying. The federal effort was delayed, and now the public knows why" ... CNN reported Monday that the conservative Insight Magazine article which claimed US Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) was educated in Indonesia at a radical Muslim madrassa school was false. Fox News and others also repeated the false allegation from the Insight story. Rather than rely on second-hand info, CNN sent a reporter to find the school and former classmates. Obama briefly lived in Indonesia as a child and attended the school in 1969-71. It turns out the school Obama attended was a regular "mixed" public school not involving any religious teachings. Insight -- which says it is sticking with their report -- attributed the original allegations to an "unnamed source ... connected to Senator Clinton." The Clinton campaign denied any involvement. CNN noted the school was not even a Wahhabi Muslim school, as the students were Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and Confucian and the teacher's wear traditional Western-style clothes. Obama's campaign said the Insight article was "appallingly irresponsible."
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.23.07 | Permalink |

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Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.23.07 | Permalink |

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE.

HILL AND BILL JUMP IN; NATIONAL POLLS; HAGEL DODGES INDY Q; SAM FINISHED EXPLORING.
US Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (D) both officially jumped into the Presidential contest over the weekend. The former First Lady -- who starts the race as the solid frontrunner for the Democratic nomination -- said "I'm in it to win" and vows to make history as our first female President. She describes her campaign as "a conversation about the future of our country." Her dominance is easy felt in the Dem field, as most of the other candidates frequently describe themselves as the one who will emerge as the "viable alternative" to Clinton. She also launched her new campaign website. Considering HRC says she's in to win, and her website already is accepting contributions of up to $4,200 ($2,100 for primary account, $2,100 for general election account), why is she even bothering with the whole "exploratory" thing? As for Richardson, the former US Ambassador to the United Nations and four-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, announced his plans during a Sunday appearance on ABC's This Week. "We have to repair the damage that's been done to our country over the last six years. Our reputation in the world is diminished, our economy has languished, and civility and common decency in government has perished," said Richardson. He also immediately launched his new campaign website ... A brief word about national polls on the Presidential primary contests: I don't plan to report on any of them. National polls for the Prez primaries are meaningless. National feelings may initially influence voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, but in the end the voters in those small, early contest states disproportionately influence the voters in all the primary states that follow ... US Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) pointedly avoided offering a direct answer (or denial) when asked if he may seek the White House as an Independent next year. "I have not decided I am going to run for President, so maybe that’ll be the next set of questions that you could ask after I decide what I’m going to do," he told C-SPAN ... The House Democrats successfully completed their "100 Hours Agenda" by passing all of their promised legislation in well under the promised amount of time. "Bully for the Democrats ... They did what we didn't have the guts to do," said Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ), speaking about the Dem legislation that ended the practice of allowing anonymous spending earmarks on House appropriations bills ... US Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) transitioned from exploratory candidate to full-fledged Presidential candidate with his campaign kick-off this weekend.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.22.07 | Permalink |

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The daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.22.07 | Permalink |

FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE.

FREE SPEECH ZONE.
Yeah, I know political stuff happened Thursday ... but I have a really painful backache tonight and simply cannot sit long enough to research and write tonight. My apologies.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.19.07 | Permalink |

THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE.

KY GOV UPDATE; JINDAL LOOKS STRONG IN LA; FLORIDA PUSHES BACK.
Former Congresswoman Anne Northup on Wednesday announced her GOP primary challenge to Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher. Northup was defeated for re-election last year in an upset. Fletcher is viewed as highly vulnerable in both the primary and general elections in the
aftermath of a series of damaging ethical scandals. Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence (R) had promised to not enter the gubernatorial race if Northup jumped in. Instead, Pence is reportedly looking at the Attorney General contest. On the Democratic side, State Treasurer Jonathan Miller, former Lieutenant Governors Steve Henry and Steve Beshear, and three minor hopefuls have already announced candidacies. State House Speaker Jody Richards (D) and Attorney General Greg Stumbo (D) are both still looking at the race ... Congressman Bobby Jindal (R) leads Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco (D) by a 59% to 35% vote, according to a new New Orleans Times-Picayune/Southern Media and Opinion Research poll ... DNC officials have warned Florida legislators that if Florida moves their Presidential forward to be on the same January date as the approved South Carolina primary, the party will cut Florida's delegate total in half. State Senator Jeremy Ring, the Dem co-sponsor of the bill, said he could care less. He explained he would rather Florida make a real impact on the selection process in the early primaries than have some extra seats at a coronation-like convention. GOP officials will likely put similar pressure of Florida leaders to back off, as they agree with the DNC that Florida's size and prominence would likely eclipse South Carolina if both were held on the same day. Under the rules of both major parties, all states are allowed to hold primaries or caucuses at will after the Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina contests -- or face the loss of delegate seats for defying the official calendar.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.18.07 | Permalink |

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Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.18.07 | Permalink |

WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

OBAMA FILES; TANCREDO PASSES ... AND FILES; HRC-JRE FIGHT CONTINUES; KEATING OUT.
US Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) filed paperwork on Tuesday to form a Presidential exploratory committee for 2008. He also launched his new campaign website, already featuring his exploratory committee announcement and a 5 minute bio video. He plans to formally transition from exploratory candidate to full-fledged candidate next month, making the announcement in Abraham Lincoln's hometown of Springfield, Illinois. Obama's candidacy is likely to inflict major damage on US Senator Hillary Clinton's nomination strategy, who was counting on strong support from the black community in early primary contests ... Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) said Tuesday he will not be a candidate for open US Senate seat. Tancredo said he is instead urging former Congressman Scott McInnis (R) to run. Tancredo's quick decision to pass the Senate race signaled his intent to jump into the Presidential race -- and action he completed by the end of the day. On the Democratic side, popular Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper said he will not enter the Senate race. Hickenlooper's decision essentially clears the primary field for Congressman Mark Udall (D). Meanwhile, US Senator Wayne Allard (R) said Tuesday he will not endorse any candidate for the GOP nomination until after the Republican primary ... Former US Senator John Edwards (D), speaking Sunday in Harlem at a MLK Day event, attacked unnamed Democratic members of Congress for lacking the courage to forcefully oppose the Iraq War and the proposed escallation. A spokesperson for US Senator Hillary Clinton (D) -- believing the shot was aimed at her -- complained that Edwards "has unfortunately chosen to open his campaign with political attacks on Democrats who are fighting the Bush administration's Iraq policy." Edwards fired back again: "I stand behind it. We should not be escalating this war. And I hope that member of Congress will have the good conscience and the good sense to show strength." Clinton, unlike Edwards, has failed to repudiate her earlier support for the war or take a strong stance now against the Iraq War. Instead, she walks the risky middle-of-the-road -- essentially explaining that her vote for the war was the correct vote, but that the Bush Administration fought the war ineptly -- a view not likely to win her much primary support from party activists ... Former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating's fifteen minutes of P2008 media time is over. After openly complaining last month that no "Reagan Conservatives" remained in the GOP Presidential contest, Keating said he was thinking of jumping in. On Tuesday, he decided "it's just not the right thing for me to do at this time." Instead, Keating says he'd like to serve in the US Senate someday.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.17.07 | Permalink |

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The daily open thread.

Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.17.07 | Permalink |

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE.

ALLARD TO RETIRE; GORE STILL NOT RUNNING; OBAMA TO FILE PREZ EXPLORE COMMITTEE.
US Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) announced Monday he will honor his two-term voluntary term limits pledge and not seek re-election in 2008. The news is not a surprise, as Allard had made virtually no effort to raise any money for a potential re-election run. Congressman Mark Udall (D) was already in the race against Allard, and must be viewed as the initial frontrunner in the open seat race. Congressman Tom Tancredo, former Congressman Scott McInnis, former Governor Bill Owens, former Congressman Bob Beauprez and others are all being mentioned as possible GOP candidates. McInnis appears to be the strongest of the speculative GOP hopefuls, although Tancredo has a hardcore following that would be sure to vote in a primary contest ... Former Vice President Al Gore (D) said yet again Monday he currently has no plans to run for President in 2008. Gore made his latest deniel of interest during a visit to Japan to promote his documentary film, saying he is too busy in "a different kind of campaign" ... WMAQ-TV in Chicago reported Monday that aides to US Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) confirmed he will file paperwork this week forming a Presidential exploratory committee for 2008.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.16.07 | Permalink |

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Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 01.16.07 | Permalink |

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