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A Woman To Be Reckoned With

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Now that Sen. Barack Obama has made his intentions clear about a run for the Democratic nomination for president, we can safely say the race is on.

There is a kind of mania around the junior senator from Illinois. One of the plusses, his supporters say, is that he's not part of the past — it's time for youth and new ideas, not the "same old, same old" of the past. That's appealing to a lot of people, to be sure.

So we weren't too surprised when Sen. Hillary Clinton appeared on the talk shows this morning. She's just back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and she spoke forcefully about not supporting President Bush's troop-escalation plans in Iraq. In fact, she said the place more troops are desperately needed is Afghanistan.

Sen. Clinton gave quick notice today to Sen. Obama that her experience and her smarts are going to have to be reckoned with. Even without a formal announcement, Sen. Clinton made her case today: She will be the candidate of substance.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.