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Hillary Clinton Enters 2008 US Presidential Race

New York Senator Hillary Clinton has announced she has taken the first step toward a run for the presidency in 2008. VOA's Marissa Melton reports.

Senator Hillary Clinton, wife of former president Bill Clinton, announced her move on her Web site Saturday, saying "I'm in".

"I announced today that I am forming a presidential exploratory committee," said Mrs. Clinton.

Clinton, 59, criticized the Bush administration, saying after six years of his presidency it is time to renew the promise of America. She also laid out her own leadership goals.

"Let's talk about how to end the war in Iraq and restore respect for America around the world," she added.

She also said she wants to talk about making the nation energy-independent, free of foreign oil. And she mentioned several domestic issues including health care, an issue she concentrated on during her time as first lady in the 1990s.

In her announcement, she stressed her middle class roots, setting her agenda to boost the prospects of the middle class whom she says has been neglected under the Bush administration.

Clinton's announcement follows one earlier this week by another possible front-runner, African-American Barack Obama. He announced formation of his exploratory committee on Tuesday.

Either candidate would be a "first" for the nation if elected. Clinton would be the first female president of the United States, while Obama would be the first African-American.

To date, there are five Democratic presidential hopefuls.

In the Republican Party, U.S. Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas says he will formally announce his intentions to enter the 2008 presidential race Saturday in the state capital Topeka.