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Vilsack Makes It Official

Confirming an earlier Fix report, former Gov. Tom Vilsack has formally withdrawn from the presidential race -- citing an inability to stay financially competitive as the sole reason for his decision.

"We have everything to win the nomination and the general election," said Vilsack in a statement released by his campaign. "Everything except money."

Vilsack added that the frontloading of the primary process -- with states like California and Florida planning move their primary dates up to early February -- put even more emphasis on the need for campaign cash.

Vilsack was the first candidate to officially declare his presidential candidacy, an announcement that came directly on the heels of the November midterm elections. His stated reason for getting in so early was the need to immediately put in place an infrastructure to show he could raise the money to be competitive with the frontrunners for the nomination. By the end of 2006, Vilsack had raised $1.2 million for his presidential campaign but had just $396,000 in the bank. In a race where the leading candidates are expected to raise more than $50 million this year alone, it was apparent that Vilsack would struggle to compete. Rumors were flying hot and heavy in the days leading up to Vilsack's announcement that he was having trouble meeting payroll for his expanding campaign staff.

Vilsack is not expected to endorse any of the remaining candidates in the near future. Obviously an endorsement from a two-term governor of the state that holds the first-in-the-nation caucuses will be coveted by all of the major candidates.

In that vein, the first press release we received on Vilsack came from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (N.Y.) campaign. Clinton said she had been "proud to work with Tom Vilsack for years on the challenges facing our country" and added that she had "deep admiration" for Vilsack and his wife Christie.

In a conference calls with reporters Friday afternoon, VIlsack said endorsements were far from his mind. "We are going to take some time and reflect but today is not the day to talk about that," he said.

View the video below to get more on how Vilsack's decision will affect the other candidates. And make sure to check out the Sunday Fix -- found on page A2 of the Sunday paper -- for more on the winners and losers as a result of Vilsack's no-go decision. You can also click here to read the Fix's Insider Interview with the former governor.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 23, 2007; 1:03 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: The Line: Money Chase Chases Vilsack From '08 Field

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