Video: Clinton and Richardson heat up '08 race

updated 1/22/2007 8:50:27 AM ET 2007-01-22T13:50:27

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed confidence Sunday in her presidential prospects and said she awaits a spirited contest for the 2008 Democratic nomination.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be a great contest with a lot of talented people and I’m very confident. I’m in, I’m in it to win and that’s what I intend to do,” she said after her first public appearance since announcing her candidacy Saturday.

Clinton’s comments came during a visit to a Manhattan community health clinic, where the New York senator was promoting a federal children’s health-care program.

Clinton said she would introduce legislation to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program to all families who need it, regardless of income. Aides said Clinton was determined to attend to her Senate duties throughout the campaign.

Reflecting her new status as a leading presidential contender, the room was packed with media — some two dozen television camera crews jockeyed for position with scores of reporters from as far away as Germany. Photographers waited outside in chilly temperatures for over an hour to snap pictures of Clinton’s arrival.

The friends and family plan
Clinton said she decided to run after talking to family, friends and supporters since her re-election in November.

“It was a thorough review for me about the problems we confront in the country, the particular strengths and talents I would bring — both to the race and the White House,” Clinton said.

Video: Back in the White House? “I concluded, based on the work of my lifetime and my experience and my understanding of what our country has to confront in order to continue to make opportunity available to all of our citizens here and to restore our leadership and respect of America around the world, that I would be able to do that — to bring our country together to meet those tough challenges,” she said.

The former first lady answered questions after promoting the CHIP legislation. She appeared onstage gripping the hands of 4-year old Olivia and 2-year old Camilla Harden, whose parents said they relied on CHIP for their daughters’ health care. The girls looked bewildered as hundreds of flashbulbs popped and cameras whirred throughout the room.

“It’s simply wrong for any child to lack health care in America. That’s where we start,” Clinton said.

A rival heard from
Earlier Sunday, one of her White House challengers said Clinton is the favorite right now for the Democratic nomination but added that the party is a “lifetime” away from making its 2008 choice.

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“I think she’s incredibly formidable and has got to be the front-runner and the odds-on pick right now. But this is a marathon. There’s a long way to go,” said Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.

The former first lady joined the race on Saturday , hoping to become the first female president.

A crowded field of Democratic candidates is led by Clinton, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson jumped in Sunday.

Poll: Clinton favored by 41 percent
A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Sunday showed Clinton was the favorite of 41 percent of Democrats, more than double the support of any of her rivals.

Video: 2008 hopefuls Clinton made her announcement on a video posted Saturday on her Web site. Obama said last week he was setting up a committee to raise money and gauge support for a run.

Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is considering a 2008 bid, said he thought Obama “forced Senator Clinton’s hand by weeks. I mean, he has gained ground so rapidly that I think she sort of thought she had to remind her friends she was around.”

Gingrich said Clinton “can raise far more resources than any other Democrat, probably raise more resources than all the other Democrats combined. And you’d have to say, given those assets, that she has a six-out-of-10 chance or better of being the Democratic nominee.”

Biden appeared on “Fox News Sunday.” Gingrich was on “Meet the Press” on NBC.

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