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Oh-Eight (D)

The New York Times notes that Obama's candidacy "changes the contours of the Democratic landscape. He is the only major candidate, at least among those from the Senate, who is not on record voting about whether to go to war with Iraq… Since then, though, Mr. Edwards has renounced his support of the war and become a stronger critic than Mr. Obama. And Mrs. Clinton, who has expressed skepticism about President Bush's revised Iraq strategy, has struggled to convince many in the Democratic Party's base that she has spoken out strongly enough."

A Washington Post analysis adds, "Never has a party begun a nomination contest with its two most celebrated candidates a woman and an African American… The coming campaign will provide ample opportunity for Democratic voters to decide what they want in their nominee, and in Clinton and Obama they will have strikingly different models to choose from."

USA Today examines the question on everyone's mind: Does Obama have the experience necessary to be president? "Obama wouldn't be the youngest presidential nominee or chief executive. William Jennings Bryan was 36 when he first became a Democratic nominee. John F. Kennedy was 43 when he was elected. Theodore Roosevelt was 42 when he was sworn in after the assassination of William McKinley. Nor would Obama be the least experienced nominee or president. Wendell Wilkie had never been elected to any office before he became the Republican presidential nominee in 1940. Woodrow Wilson had been New Jersey's governor for two years when he was elected in 1912. George W. Bush served six years as Texas governor before being elected president."

The Chicago Tribune: "Mounting a presidential campaign would present a huge organizational and financial undertaking for a candidate who is relatively new to the national political scene and did not even face a serious Republican opponent in his only prior high-level campaign, for the U.S. Senate in 2004."

The Des Moines Register: "Obama's step is more evidence that the 2008 caucuses promise to be competitive, despite former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack's candidacy." 

The Washington Post's Milbank covers the mystery -- and perhaps explanation -- of Hillary Clinton's cancelled press conference yesterday.

And the San Francisco Chronicle offers some statistics to suggest that Obama and Clinton are ideologically closer than you might think. "Though Obama is perceived as being slightly to Clinton's left, an examination of Obama's and Clinton's voting records during the two years they served together in the Senate reveals no substantive differences. … Of the 618 votes on the Senate floor during 2005 and 2006, Obama and Clinton voted the same 576 times."

The Boston Herald reports that Obama's decision to form an exploratory committee puts more pressure on John Kerry to decide if he will also join the race. "Despite Kerry's 2004 New Hampshire primary win, activists say he must lay new groundwork if he wants to wage another campaign." 

On Tuesday, the Hartford Courant profiled its home-state senator, Chris Dodd. "Many political observers have deep doubts about Dodd's candidacy. They say he may not be able to raise the enormous amount of money he'll need. They say that he's a New England liberal and that he can't distinguish himself and his views from better-known candidates. But others warn he should not be counted out."

Today's Courant reports that Dodd is bringing his presidential campaign home to Connecticut this Friday. "Dodd faced some criticism last week for not announcing in the state he has represented as a U.S. senator for 26 years. Traditionally, candidates have returned to their hometowns, or at least some place symbolic, to start their presidential journey."