CNBC's Harwood: Obama Off And Running?


He's running--sort of. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is a major step closer to actually running for the presidential nomination of his party. Obama announced in high-tech fashion (on his personal Web site) that he's formed an exploratory committee to run for the top spot on the presidential ticket in 2008. CNBC's John Harwood (money and politics do go together so often) went into the details on today's "Street Signs."

FYI: what exactly is an exploratory committee? Well, it's a committee set up to see if the candidate has a chance or not. Here's a text book definition from writer Ron Elving:The exploratory committee creates a legal shell for a candidate who expects to spend more than $5,000 while contemplating an actual run. Under the rules, exploratory money may be raised without the full disclosure of sources required of true candidates. Only when the candidate drops the exploratory label does the full responsibility of transparency apply.

Okay--we'll move on. In his webcast on why he's thinking about running--Obama said he's interested in ending the political bickering from the Bush era. He's expected to announce his full candidacy on February 10th. Meanwhile, Harwood says Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) will more than likely set up an exploratory committee of her own next month. She's considered the frontrunner because of her high profile and the huge amount of fundraising she's conducted in the past year or so.

They would join former North Carolina Senator John Edwards who is already in the race for the Democratic nomination. Edwards is turning up the heat in regards to the Iraq war--by calling in a speech Monday for Congress to stop the funding of the current increase in U.S. troops to Iraq. Edwards says Congress has the power and should use it now.

Other declared candidates in the Democratic race include Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) and Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT). Former Iowa Democratic governor Tom Vilsak has also declared himself a presidential contender.

The Democrats recently chose Denver, Colorado to host their convention in 2008. This is an attempt to increase their visibility to the country's western section.