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As our Boston affiliate WHDH reported on Friday, Romney is expected to announce his campaign for president early next year in Boston, though not on January 4, which his Democratic successor Deval Patrick will be sworn in as governor.

Along with Vilsack and Bayh, another Midwesterner, Republican Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, is expected to file an exploratory committee this week, USA Today mentions. 

Bayh "has already begun looking for office space in both states as well as interviewing potential staff members in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada," says the Washington Post.  "Later this month Bayh will host a meeting of his top financial backers in Washington.  He is also interviewing media consultants." 

Vilsack continued his presidential kick-off tour over the weekend with a stop in Nevada -- making him the first candidate "in history to include the state on his official campaign launch," reports the Des Moines Register

Vilsack will have raised nearly $1 million for his campaign by the end of the year, the Register also says.  (Consultants and observers are estimating that it will take $20 million to really play.) 

The New York Times says the possibility that Obama could run for president poses a threat not only to Clinton, but also the other potential Democratic candidates who are trying to position themselves to be the alternative to her.  "Democrats increasingly believe that Mr. Obama has the potential of upending the dynamics of the 2008 contest more than any other Democrat who might run - short, perhaps, of Al Gore."   

Clinton "has begun a calculated series of meetings with top New York Democratic officials to signal that she is likely to run for the presidency in 2008 and to ask for their support if she does," the Times reported yesterday.  The article says some Clinton aides see Obama "as the single biggest obstacle to her nomination." 

The New York Daily News: "Sources reaffirmed to the Daily News that Clinton will announce in a month or so that she is forming an official presidential exploratory committee - a nearly sure sign she will run in 2008." 

The State's Lee Bandy says Sen. Joe Biden (D) stopped in South Carolina over the weekend and avoided partisan attacks on the President in front of a fairly conservative audience, even though "Biden devoted much of his speech to the war in Iraq." 

The Miami Herald reports that some Florida officials "agree that Florida should wield more influence during the primary season, and legislators could begin crafting a bill as soon as next month.  An earlier 2008 primary would lure presidential contenders -- and their money -- to Florida much sooner and more frequently than in past elections." 

Massachusetts Governor-elect Deval Patrick (D) plans to maintain and expand the grassroots base that helped him win election last month -- and perhaps apply it to national politics.  The Boston Globe reports that "presidential political operatives are already eyeing the Internet-connected army of Patrick supporters.  The fact it could easily march into New Hampshire to put its weight behind a Democratic presidential candidate is a major political asset for Patrick."