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Bayh bows out of '08 presidential race

Story Highlights

• Bayh statement cites long odds, work to be done in Senate
• Indiana Democrat established exploratory committee on December 5
• Two Democrats officially running for party's '08 nomination
• Four Republicans have formed exploratory committees for nomination
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Less than two weeks after filing papers to set up an exploratory committee for a possible bid for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential race, Sen. Evan Bayh has dropped out of the running.

"After talking with family and friends over the past several days, I have decided that this is not the year for me to run for President," the Indiana Democrat said in a statement issued Saturday.

"The odds were always going to be very long for a relatively unknown candidate like myself, a little bit like David and Goliath," the statement said.

"And whether there were too many Goliaths or whether I'm just not the right David, ... the odds were longer than I felt I could responsibly pursue," Bayh's statement continued. "This path -- and these long odds -- would have required me to be essentially absent from the Senate for the next year instead of working to help the people of my state and the nation."

Bayh filed papers with the Federal Election Commission on December 5 to form a presidential exploratory committee.

That same day, he said on CNN that he is capable of uniting Democrats, independents and Republicans in a "politics of common purpose."

"That's not happening today," he said. "But it's something I've demonstrated repeatedly an ability to do, and it's something I think we're going to need in the next president."

This summer, Bayh said he knew a possible run against potential candidate Hillary Clinton would be tough, but he said he felt confident in his abilities and political experience.

Over the past year, the former two-term Indiana governor has been a constant presence in Iowa and New Hampshire -- the states that traditionally open up the official presidential campaign with a caucus and a primary, respectively.

Four Republicans -- Arizona Sen. John McCain, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani -- have announced the creation of exploratory committees so far. Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack announced last month that he would seek the Democratic presidential nomination and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich announced his candidacy on Tuesday.

Bayh was elected to the Senate in 1998 after serving as Indiana's governor. He is also a former leader of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council.

CNN's Sasha Johnson contributed to this report.

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