It’s just exploratory for now, which means, “Will white folks really back me or am I getting off on my own hype?”
Sen. Barack Obama launched a presidential campaign Tuesday that would make him the first black to occupy the White House, and immediately tried to turn his political inexperience into an asset with voters seeking change.
The freshman Illinois senator — and top contender for the Democratic nomination — said the past six years have left the country in a precarious place and he promoted himself as the standard-bearer for a new kind of politics.
“Our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, commonsense way,” Obama said in a video posted on his Web site. “Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can’t tackle the big problems that demand solutions. And that’s what we have to change first.”
Obama filed paperwork forming a presidential exploratory committee that allows him to raise money and put together a campaign structure. He is expected to announce a full-fledged candidacy on Feb. 10 in Springfield, Ill., where he can tout his experience in the state legislature and tap into the legacy of hometown hero Abraham Lincoln.
In a brief interview on Capitol Hill, Obama said the reaction has been positive and added, “we wouldn’t have gone forward this far if it hadn’t been this positive.”
Obama’s soft-spoken appeal on the stump, his unique background, his opposition to the Iraq war and his fresh face set him apart in a competitive race that also is expected to include front-runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.
Obama has uncommon political talents, drawing adoring crowds even among the studious voters in New Hampshire during a much-hyped visit there last month. His star has risen on the force of his personality and message of hope — helped along by celebrity endorsements from the likes of Oprah Winfrey, billionaire investor Warren Buffett and actors Matt Damon and Edward Norton.
“I certainly didn’t expect to find myself in this position a year ago,” said Obama, who added that as he talked to Americans about a possible presidential campaign, “I’ve been struck by how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics.”
The question still remains: Is American hungry enough to let go hundreds of years of racist thinking and back a candidate who could be very good for this country? No matter what you think about him, he’s got to be a total 180 degrees from the guy standing in the Oval Office now. I’m all for giving him a shot, and not because he’s black. Well, at least it sounds good. He gets my vote just off GP alone.