From NBC News
As reported tonight on NBC Nightly News, Sen. John McCain (R) plans to set up an exploratory committee for a presidential run in 2008. It might seem awfully early but in fact, when he ran for president in 2000, McCain actually made similar news in late December 1998. Of course, back then he was far less well-known.
Unfortunately for McCain, the Democratic takeover of the Senate just deprived him of a key platform: He'll become ranking member of the Armed Services Committee in the next Congress, whereas he must have hoped to become the committee chairman. (Maybe that's why he recently made a controversial joke that he'd commit suicide if Democrats won control?)
McCain surely will expound upon his plans with NBC's Tim Russert during his appearance on Meet the Press this Sunday. Assuming no one beats him to the punch, he will become the first major Republican candidate to file with the FEC. Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) became the first major candidate of either party to file when he did so yesterday. The next few months are expected to be crowded with similar announcements: Sen. Evan Bayh (D) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D), to name two, have said they'll announce their plans shortly after the holidays.