Obama close to a decision on '08
January 3, 2007 (WLS) -- Illinois Senator Barack Obama says he could announce a decision about a run for the White House by the end of the month. Just about everyone in Washington is waiting for that announcement. It will have a big impact on both Democrats and Republicans.
Congress convenes Thursday and Obama's future is one hot topic on Capitol Hill. ABC7 political reporter Andy Shaw talked with Obama about his future and a possible run for president late Wednesday afternoon.
Senator Barack Obama said that he has decided to take a few more weeks to make sure that all the i's are dotted, t's are crossed, his family is onboard and his gut still says go. Then, assuming all that stays as is, he will soon announce formation of an exploratory committee, which is the first step on the long presidential campaign road.
"We're still taking a look at it. As soon as I have news to make, you'll be the first to know," Obama said.
Senator Obama is back in Washington, D.C., after a family vacation in Hawaii, to finalize his plan to run for president, which is tentatively set to begin with an announcement in the next month that he is forming an exploratory committee so he can start raising money and put a campaign together.
"Until you are actually out there and running, you're not running. The rest of it is speculation and gossip," said Obama.
The Democratic front-runner in all of the polls, New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, reportedly considers Obama her main challenger, but her advisers are predicting he will lose his luster when people focus on his lack of experience with only two years in Washington.
"I don't think she was quoted saying that. I think that was some secondhand news. She and I right now are looking forward to a majority in the Congress and making sure we can actually get some things done for the people of Illinois, the people of New York and the people of the country," said Obama.
The media scrutiny of Obama is also intensifying with articles like Wednesday's on page 1 of the influential Washington Post, mentioning his teenage cocaine use and his fear of becoming a "junkie or pothead" as he revealed in his first book about his mixed race heritage.
"This is not a scoop, but rather it's something I reported on in a book I wrote 11 years ago. I think if that's gonna stop me, it's probably just as well, I probably shouldn't be president," said Obama.
And running for president is such a daunting task: you have to raise tens of millions of dollars, campaign in every state, deal with the national and local media everyday and still find time for your family and your day job in the Senate. But Senator Barack Obama is such a hot political commodity right now that there may never be a better time to make a race like this.
Obama's kids are young, but he says it may be better than when they are teenagers. So barring a last-minute change of heart, he is good to go at the end of this month or early in February.
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