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Obama considers presidential run

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama said Sunday that he may run for president in 2008, despite previous assertions that he would complete his current six-year senatorial term, which ends in 2011.

"I would say I am still at the point where I have not made a decision to pursue higher office, but it is true that I have thought about it over the last several months," the 45-year-old Democratic senator from Illinois told NBC's "Meet the Press."

In January, Obama told NBC that he would not run for president or vice president in 2008.

Asked Sunday about his earlier stance, Obama said, "That was how I was thinking at that time."

"I don't want to be coy about this, given the responses that I've been getting over the last several months," he said. "I have thought about the possibility, but I have not thought about it with the seriousness and depth that I think is required."

Obama has given a slew of interviews in recent weeks to television shows, magazines and other publications to promote his new book, "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream." The book, published last week, touches on themes of race and identity. (Watch Obama talk about his plans on Larry King Live -- 11:37 Video)

He wove many of the same topics into his 2004 Democratic convention speech. The speech, and his election to the Senate that same year, helped propel the attorney and father of two to an overnight political sensation in Democratic circles.

"He is so appealing because he has escaped some of the normal, you know, bad stuff that happens to people on the campaign trail," Lynne Sweet, a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, said Sunday on CNN's "Reliable Sources."

"And here's the realization I think his people and Sen. Obama is coming to, and it's this: you can't time timing."

Other columnists have hailed Obama as the solution to the Democratic Party's woes in winning elections.

"The next Democratic nominee should either be Barack Obama or should have the stature that would come from defeating Barack Obama," David Brooks, a conservative op-ed columnist for The New York Times, wrote in his Thursday column, entitled, "Run, Barack, Run."

Frank Rich, a liberal op-ed columnist for the same newspaper, wrote in his Sunday piece that much of the Democrats' long-term success will depend on whether "Obama steps up and changes the party before the party of terminal timidity and equivocation changes him."

Political analysts have also speculated that another Democrat, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, is gearing up for a presidential bid in 2008. In a Sunday debate with Republican challenger John Spencer, the junior senator from New York wouldn't say definitively if she would complete her six-year term if re-elected.

Spencer accused her of using New Yorkers' time to run for president. Clinton would make a "tremendous candidate for the president of the United States but not at the expense of New Yorkers," he said. (Full story)

This month, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, a man many saw as another possible Democratic presidential contender, ruled out a 2008 bid.

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, left speaks to Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" Sunday in Washington.



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