Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Obama forms 2008 White House exploratory committee.

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Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) opened an exploratory committee on Tuesday to seek the 2008 Democratic nomination for president of the United States.

Obama plans an "official" announcement on Feb. 10 in Illinois. He opened an exploratory committee office in Washington. His national headquarters is expected to be in Chicago. He has an 11 a.m. conference call with his supporters. Obama starts the race with his main rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is poised to launch her presidential bid with former Sen. John Edwards also a strong contender in the early primary states.

It's a meteoric rise for a man who was a little known Illinois state senator in 2004.

In his statement, Obama strikes a familiar theme, about the "smallness" of politics.

He said, "it's not the magnitude of our problems that concerns me the most. It's the smallness of our politics. America's faced big problems before. But today, our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, common sense way. Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions."

Click below for full Obama statement.

the Obama statement...

As you may know, over the last few months I have been thinking hard about my plans for 2008. Running for the presidency is a profound decision - a decision no one should make on the basis of media hype or personal ambition alone - and so before I committed myself and my family to this race, I wanted to be sure that this was right for us and, more importantly, right for the country.

I certainly didn't expect to find myself in this position a year ago. But as I've spoken to many of you in my travels across the states these past months; as I've read your emails and read your letters; I've been struck by how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics.

So I've spent some time thinking about how I could best advance the cause of change and progress that we so desperately need.

The decisions that have been made in Washington these past six years, and the problems that have been ignored, have put our country in a precarious place. Our economy is changing rapidly, and that means profound changes for working people. Many of you have shared with me your stories about skyrocketing health care bills, the pensions you've lost and your struggles to pay for college for your kids. Our continued dependence on oil has put our security and our very planet at risk. And we're still mired in a tragic and costly war that should have never been waged.

But challenging as they are, it's not the magnitude of our problems that concerns me the most. It's the smallness of our politics. America's faced big problems before. But today, our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, common sense way. Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions.

And that's what we have to change first.

We have to change our politics, and come together around our common interests and concerns as Americans.

This won't happen by itself. A change in our politics can only come from you; from people across our country who believe there's a better way and are willing to work for it.

Years ago, as a community organizer in Chicago, I learned that meaningful change always begins at the grassroots, and that engaged citizens working together can accomplish extraordinary things.

So 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.

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.

In the meantime, I want to thank all of you for your time, your suggestions, your encouragement and your prayers. And I look forward to continuing our conversation in the weeks and months to come.

Sincerely,

8 Comments

I am one of Senator Obama's constituents. My second attempt to discuss the problems that I encountered via the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has not run its course yet.

However, since the Senator is going to be talking with "people from around the country", why shouldn't he start with a constituent. I hearby volunteer to be one of the first people to talk with him. If chosen, I will tell him about the nightmare that my elderly parents (also his constituents) experienced because of CMS.

Some of his staff do not seem to be sure of what do to with such information. I do not think that their feelings would be hurt if I went over their heads and straight to their boss.

This is all wishful thinking, but he still represents Illinois.

I am curious. Why has no one in the main stream press even attempted to scrutinize Illinois senator Barack Obama's position on marriage equality?

When an African-American Harvard educated civil rights lawyer preaches righteous sermons about respecting the doctrine of separation of church and state but then offers only a religious rationale for denying 'fundamental' civil rights the cognitive dissonance should assail the ears of anyone with even a mere thimble full of legal knowledge. Enough is enough. This sham and travesty have gone too far.

"If a civil rights lawyer walked into court and argued that fundamental civil rights should be denied solely for metaphysical reasons one could fairly wonder if he were a charlatan who found his law degree in a box of Cracker Jack. Legally, Obama's position on civil marriage is intellectual rubbish. Audacity indeed!"

To read the entire article see "Untangling Barack Obama's audacious mumbo jumbo," by John P. Mortimer, Bay Area Reporter 11/16/2006 at http://ebar.com/common/inc/article_print.php?sec=guest_op&article=73 .

I believe that Mr.Obama is a man of integrity and he is what we need to maintain peace in the United States and abroad.. I can see great things coming from his leadership because of his honesty and his committment to himself and this nation . I feel that he knows what he wants for his family and he wants the same for the United states. Remember that saying ,"always treat people how you would want to be treated," and I feel as though he will get us the same type of treatment he would want bestoyed open his family so that means our country will prospers under his guidence.

Poster no.1 Hope you can get a hold of Sen. Obama. You and ?thousand Illinoisians would like to see him, but that's the way it goes. Poster no. 2 Wow, you don't like his position on gay marriage. Never fear, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh will make sure we all hate him for you.

And finally; Ms. Sweet, you were right on your appearance on Chris Mathews' show, "Hardball" 1/15/07. You said, "Hillary Clinton represents the past, we are the past". Sadly, you are very right. I am young enough to remember the Clinton Administration and all its "grandeur", but its a new day.

Lynn,

You are not going to get a break for the next ten years if Obama runs and wins two terms in the White House. I appreciate all you do for your readers. I just hope you can survive.

Let's not forget that the Green Party is now an established political party in the state of Illinois, so their candidate will automatically be on the ballot. The Democrats had better get to work on a reform like Instant Runoff Voting, which will eliminate the spoiler effect!

The knock on Obama is he hasn't done anything and that all Democrats have the same play book.Could please go into great detail on the bills and programs the Senator has authored or co -sponsored[including the Illinois years] and how he differs from other candidates on the issues.

The ruthless Clinton machine will go after Hussein Obama with everything they got. He has no chance of getting out of the primaries.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 16, 2007 9:00 AM.

Sweet blog scoop: Obama morning conference call with supporters to announce White House run. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet: Obama, off and running. is the next entry in this blog.

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