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Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Daschle backs Obama
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle is throwing his support to Sen. Barack Obama in the scramble for the party's 2008 presidential nomination, an Obama campaign aide told CNN.

Daschle lost his Senate seat from South Dakota to Republican John Thune in 2004 after serving as the chamber's majority leader and minority leader during a three-term stint. He was the first Senate leader to lose a re-election bid since 1952.

His commitment to Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, comes nearly 11 months before the Iowa caucuses, the first votes of the 2008 campaign. The wide-open race has already drawn nine Democrats and 10 Republicans who have either declared their candidacies or formed exploratory committees.

Daschle had considered a presidential bid himself, but his top political adviser said in December that the former senator would not seek the White House next year.

-- CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Mark Preston
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