TON DASCHLE
Doug Dreyer  /  AP
Former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle signs an autograph Saturday at the annual George McGovern Dinner in Aberdeen, S.D.
updated 3/12/2006 5:56:32 PM ET 2006-03-12T22:56:32

Former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, accusing the GOP of spreading a message of fear, says he is considering a 2008 presidential bid.

“I haven’t ruled anything out or anything in at this point,” Daschle said in an interview Saturday night after a hometown dinner in his honor.

“I’m encouraged by the strong support many people have voiced for my candidacy around the country and in South Dakota. I’ll make a decision at some point later on this year,” he said.

Daschle said President Bush and Republicans have overemphasized the importance of the war on terror, and he said the U.S. is no safer now than it was before the Iraq invasion.

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“This country is not more secure when a president infers that he is above the law and can wiretap and eavesdrop on average citizens,” he said. “We’re not more secure when we turn ports over to foreign countries.”

Daschle, 58, was Senate Democratic leader for a decade, until losing by 4,500 votes in 2004 to Republican John Thune. He flirted with a presidential run in 2004 but backed out at the last minute.

Daschle's name joins others
Other widely mentioned Democratic names for the 2008 race include Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

Biden, in Washington on Sunday, said he thinks the Democratic nominee likely will be determined by the end of the New Hampshire primary. Following party caucuses in Iowa, the New Hampshire contest is traditionally the nation’s first presidential primary.

Biden is up for re-election in 2008. He told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he will make a decision about seeking another Senate term after the early nomination contests.

“My intention now is to see if I can garner enough support to get the Democratic nomination,” he said. “If I can, I stay in the race until the end of this. If it turns out that I can’t raise the money or I can’t get any support, then I make a decision about my Senate career.”

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