- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 20, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) — Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will embark on a widely anticipated campaign for the White House Saturday, a former first lady intent on becoming the nation’s first female president.

Clinton was expected to disclose plans to form a presidential exploratory committee on her Web site, according to Democratic officials familiar with the matter.

Clinton’s planned announcement, coming days after Sen. Barack Obama shook up the 2008 race with his bid to become the first black to occupy the White House, establishes the most diverse political field. Clinton is considered the front-runner, with Obama and 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards as her top contenders. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who would be the first Hispanic, intends to announce his plans on Sunday.

With millions in the bank, a vast network of supporters and top status in nearly every poll of Democratic contenders, Clinton has launched the most viable effort by a female candidate to capture the White House. She is the first presidential spouse to pursue the office; her husband, Bill, served two terms in the White House from 1993-2001.

The announcement was the latest step in a remarkable political and personal journey for the 59-year-old Clinton — from Arkansas attorney to first lady to New York senator to front-runner for the Democratic nomination.

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