Obama Jumps In
But it's important to note that an exploratory committee is intended to examine the candidate's viability in the upcoming presidential race and, given Obama's rock-star status in the Democratic party, there is little doubt that his February announcement will establish that he is officially in the race.
"Even in the midst of the enormous challenges we face today, I have great faith and hope about the future - because I believe in you," said Obama on Tuesday. "And that's why I wanted to tell you first that I'll be filing papers today to create a presidential exploratory committee."
"For the next several weeks, I am going to talk with people from around the country, listening and learning more about the challenges we face as a nation, the opportunities that lie before us, and the role that a presidential campaign might play in bringing our country together. And on February 10th, at the end of these decisions and in my home state of Illinois, I'll share my plans with my friends, neighbors and fellow Americans."
The Illinois Senator has always been against the Iraq war -- even giving a speech at an anti-war rally in 2002 -- and this differentiates him from most of his announced and expected opponents for the nomination.
"I certainly didn't expect to find myself in this position a year ago," the 45-year-old Obama said yesterday. "But as I've spoken to many of you in my travels across the states these past months; as I've read your e-mails and read your letters; I've been struck by how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics."
Obama will immediately become the front-runner in a field that now includes Senators Joe Biden (D-DE) and Chris Dodd (D-CT), former Senator John Edwards, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).
You can see a video clip of his announcement here.
And now, what say you, Senator Clinton?