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Bayh's out, Edwards is in

From NBC's Elizabeth Wilner
Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, who on paper looked like a formidable presidential contender in 2008 (former red-state governor with sizeable campaign bank account and extensive political network), has announced that he will not, in fact, seek his party's nomination. "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 and I will not be a candidate for the presidency in 2008. It wasn't an easy decision but it was the right one for my family, my friends and my state. I have always prided myself on putting my public responsibilities ahead of my own ambitions," he said in a written statement.

Why, if so strong on paper, did Bayh conclude this wasn't in the cards? Probably because three contenders are sucking up so much oxygen: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards, who plans to announce his candidacy in late December, per the AP. (Of these three, Edwards was the only one to defeat GOP Sen. John McCain in a hypothetical match-up in the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.)

"The odds were always going to be very long for a relatively unknown candidate like myself, a little bit like David and Goliath," Bayh goes on to say in his statement. "And whether there were too many Goliaths or whether I'm just not the right David, the fact remains that at the end of the day, I concluded that due to circumstances beyond our control the odds were longer than I felt I could responsibly pursue."

Bayh's considerable campaign apparatus is now up for grabs.