Needing a program

Published: Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 3:15 p.m.
Presidential hopefuls continue to step up, and it's still 21 months until the November 2008 election. More than a dozen politicians have announced or filed to establish exploratory committees as White House wannabes.
Others are at the trial balloon stage - letting others speculate on their intentions while assessing how the news plays before committing to anything.
The big names among the candidates who have established exploratory committees or announced they intend to run include: Senators, present and former: Joe Biden of Delaware, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Chris Dodd of Connecticut, John Edwards of North Carolina, Mike Gravel of Alaska, John McCain of Arizona and Barack Obama of Illinois.
House members: Duncan Hunter of California, Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, Ron Paul of Texas and Tom Tancredo of Colorado.
Governors, present and former: Jim Gilmore of Virginia, Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin and Tom Vilsack of Iowa.
And former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Then there are those who have risen to the level of serious speculation without saying anything: Gen. Wesley Clark, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Vice President Al Gore, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. John Kerry and former New York Gov. George Pataki.
And the Rev. Al Sharpton. (OK, so maybe not so serious.) Some of these players will drop out of the presidential derby long before the New Hampshire primary one year from now, but what won't change is the value of the Internet for garnering the latest information on the campaigns.
Political junkies can find nirvana at their computer keyboards - seemingly limitless amounts of election news. Even casual followers of presidential politics are tuning in earlier than normal, perhaps because they are eager to replace the current occupant of that big white house on Pennsylvania Avenue.

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