CNBC's Harwood: Wall Street's Political Bed Fellows

The race for the White House is heating up. Today--Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut threw his hat in the ring (he announced on MSNBC's Don Imus Show). That follows formal announcements from former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, among others. Why so many and so early? According to CNBC’s John Harwood, if you’re a Presidential candidate it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. On today's "Street" signs Harwood revealed which corporate heavyweights have already been enlisted to help raise the big bucks.

“22 months before the 2008 Presidential election former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney kicked off his campaign with a day-long, $6.5-million fund-raising extravaganza in Boston. It’s a sign of the accelerating 2008 Presidential race," explained Harwood.

Insiders tell CNBC that even though the election is nearly 2 years away, the time is now for the White House candidates and their backers to 'show the money.' And the cost of competing is estimated to be $50 million or more.

Bill Clinton's legendary fund-raiser Terry McAuliffe is now gearing up to help Hillary Clinton. He tells CNBC the pace is unprecedented. “I've never seen so early such an active outreach effort to get people to try to help commit to raise money - I've never seen anything like it, it is going on every day - phone calls, meetings across the country. People are trying to line up their support.”

Some big names have signed up already. And Harwood revealed who’s getting in bed with whom.

Mitt Romney's team includes eBay CEO Meg Whitman and billionaire chemical manufacturer Jon Huntsman Sr.

Front-runner John McCain has Wall Street heavyweights John Thain, former Goldman Sachs president,--as well as Pete Peterson, former Secretary of Commerce and private equity billionaire Henry Kravis.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani recruited Home Depot founder Ken Langone and oil tycoon Boone Pickens.

Top Democratic contenders are tapping deep pockets too. Helping Hillary Clinton raise money will be private equity executive Alan Patricof and hedge fund player Steve Rattner of Quadrangle Group.

Barack Obama has Former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley, now MidWest Chairman of JP Morgan Chase.

And John Edwards has reached into the entertainment industry for support from Virgin Records CEO Jason Flom.