McCain Edges Toward '08 Presidential Run

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By HOPE YEN
The Associated Press
Monday, November 13, 2006; 12:57 PM

WASHINGTON -- Republican Sen. John McCain edged closer to a 2008 White House run, Democrat Russ Feingold took himself out and Sen. Barack Obama said he's still weighing whether to enter the wide-open race to succeed President Bush

The end of the congressional midterm election traditionally marks the start of the presidential campaign season, and several prospective nominees wasted no time signaling their inclinations.

McCain, R-Ariz., said Sunday he was taking the initial steps for a White House bid, setting up a committee that allows a potential candidate to raise money and travel the country to gauge support.

Obama, the lone black in the U.S. Senate, told ABC's "Good Morning America" Monday that he has still not made a decision on whether he will launch a bid for his party's nomination.

"It's only been three or four days," the Illionis Democrat said, referring to his announcement last week that he's considering a bid. "I need a little bit more time than that."

Democratic Sen. Joe Biden reaffirmed his intention to seek his party's nomination, though an announcement about establishing an exploratory committee probably will not come until early next year.

And the campaign lost one possible participant when Feingold, a Democratic senator from Wisconsin, decided against a long-shot run.

The anticipated wide-open campaign will be the first since 1928 without a sitting president or vice president in the mix of candidates. (In 1952, Harry Truman opted not to seek re-election, but didn't officially drop out until after he was defeated in the New Hampshire primary. His vice president, Alben Barkley, sought the nomination, but later dropped out.)

Bush has served two terms and Vice President Dick Cheney has made it clear he won't run.

McCain, considered the front-runner for his party's presidential nomination, said he could create an exploratory committee as early as this week, but won't make a final decision about running until early next year.

"Are we doing the things organizationally and legally that need to be done? Yes," he said. "There are certain things legally you have to comply with in order to continue to raise money and set up an organization."

"The important thing is we will not make a decision until I sit down with my family, but we will be prepared," McCain said.


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© 2006 The Associated Press

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