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Since 1st March, 1999
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Hillary joins race for presidency

New York, Jan. 20 (Reuters): Democrat Senator and former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton today entered the 2008 presidential race, officially joining a crowded field for her party's nomination.

“I’m in. And I’m in to win,” Clinton wrote on her website ( that reads: “Hillary for President.”

The second-term US Senator from New York and former US First Lady had been widely anticipated to announce her bid to become the first woman to win the US presidency. She is considered a front-runner among five other candidates in the Democratic White House field.

Her announcement comes days after a similar move by Democrat Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, who is expected to be her leading party competitor and whose campaign could make him the first black President.

Obama’s candidacy has stoked enthusiasm among Democrats looking for an alternative to Clinton, who some fear could be too polarising to defeat a Republican candidate next year.

“I am forming a presidential exploratory committee. I am not just starting a campaign though, I am beginning a conversation with you, with America,” she said in a videotaped message on her website. An exploratory committee is a first step toward official candidacy and allows her to raise campaign funds and hire staff.

“After six years of George Bush it is time to renew the promise of America,” she said. President George W. Bush was elected to a second four-year term in 2004.

The wife of former President Bill Clinton made history with her bid for US Senate in New York in 2000, becoming the first former First Lady to win one of the most powerful political jobs in the nation. Clinton, 59, was re-elected by a huge margin to a second Senate term in November.

In her posted written statement, Clinton took immediate aim at what she called “six years of Bush administration failures.” “I have never been afraid to stand up for what I believe in or to face down the Republican machine,” she wrote. “Only a new President will be able to undo Bush’s mistakes and restore our hope and optimism.

“Only a new President can renew the promise of America — the idea that if you work hard you can count on the health care, education, and retirement security that you need to raise your family. These are the basic values of America that are under attack from this administration every day,” she wrote.

“And only a new President can regain America’s position as a respected leader in the world.”

Clinton said she would be launching a series of live, online video conversations with voters, beginning on Monday.

Before officially declaring her candidacy for US Senate in 2000, Clinton travelled around New York on a “listening tour” to meet voters and hear their issues.

Prior to her husband’s two terms in the White House, Clinton was a successful attorney and advocate of children's rights, a former member of several corporate boards and public-interest boards. She was active in causes ranging from lowering infant mortality to providing legal assistance to the poor.

“Let’s talk about how to bring the right end to the war in Iraq and restore respect for America around the world,” she said in a videotaped message on her website, mentioning several issues she would address in her campaign such as energy, health care and retirement security.

Clinton worked on the House of Representatives committee on the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. She attended Yale Law School where she met fellow student Bill Clinton and followed her husband to Little Rock, Arkansas.

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