Democratic Sen. Joe Biden has been saying for months he's running for president. He made it official on Wednesday. The Delaware senator will file the paperwork with the Federal Election Commission and release a videotaped campaign message to voters on his Web site, www.joebiden.com. He also is planning another trip to New Hampshire early next week.
"After nine months of doing this, there is no exploratory committee - I'm running," Biden told The Associated Press.
A 34-year Senate veteran known for his foreign policy expertise and somewhat windy oratory, Biden acknowledged his campaign would generate little of the buzz surrounding the celebrity candidates New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.
Even he was moved by his colleagues' trailblazing candidacies, Biden said.
"There's good reason to be excited," he said. "You have the first woman running who is qualified, and a very attractive African-American who has demonstrated crossover appeal. I got involved in politics 40 years ago during the civil rights movement, so yes, it's an exciting thing."
That means Biden, 64, is gambling that in a dangerous world, voters will choose experience over excitement - particularly regarding the Iraq war.
Biden voted in 2002 to authorize military intervention in Iraq but has since become a vocal critic of the conflict. In his view, resolving the situation in Iraq is by far the gravest concern to most Americans.
"The average voter out there understands that the next president is going to have to be prepared to immediately step in without hesitation and end our involvement in Iraq," Biden said. "It's very difficult to figure out how to move on to broader foreign policy concerns without fixing Iraq first."
Biden will transfer $3 million from his Senate account to his presidential campaign, and said he believed he needed to raise $20 million total to be competitive in next year's early primaries. Analysts believe Clinton and Obama are likely to raise $100 million each this year.
"People ask if I can compete with the money of Hillary and Barack," Biden said. "I hope at the end of the day, they can compete with my ideas and my experience."
Biden was a candidate for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination, but withdrew from the race in 1987 amid accusations that he had plagiarized passages in his speeches.