Obama forming exploratory committee today

"It's not the magnitude of our problems that concerns me the most. It's the smallness of our politics."

Published January 16, 2007 3:19PM (EST)

In a videotaped statement just posted to his Web site, Barack Obama says he's filing papers today to form an exploratory committee for 2008.

"The decisions that have been made in Washington these past six years, and the problems that have been ignored, have put our country in a precarious place," Obama says in the statement. "Our economy is changing rapidly, and that means profound changes for working people. Many of you have shared with me your stories about skyrocketing health care bills, the pensions you've lost and your struggles to pay for college for your kids. Our continued dependence on oil has put our security and our very planet at risk. And we're still mired in a tragic and costly war that should have never been waged.

"But challenging as they are, it's not the magnitude of our problems that concerns me the most. It's the smallness of our politics. America's faced big problems before. But today, our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, common sense way. 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."

Before he does that, Obama says he'll be talking and listening to people around the country about "the role that a presidential campaign might play in bringing our country together." He says he'll make a further announcement on Feb. 10.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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