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Hillary Closes In On Senate Bid

There is another very strong indication that Hillary Clinton intends to run for the Senate, reports CBS News Correspondent Bob Schieffer.

A top adviser announced Thursday that the first lady will form an exploratory committee to prepare for a potential run for to fill the seat held by retiring Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York.

Harold Ickes, a former White House deputy chief of staff, will head Clinton's political operation. The panel will begin its work in early July. Ickes still denies that the first lady has made a final decision, but says that forming an exploratory committee to raise campaign funds would be the next logical step.

What makes it seem all but certain now is that Democratic Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who's been saying she would run for the Senate only if Clinton didn't, called the first lady Thursday.

Lowey says it is clear to her Clinton is going to run, so she has decided to abandon her own bid for the Senate and instead seek reelection to her congressional seat.

Clinton's office released a statement quoting her as saying, "I thank Nita for her support and look forward to working with her." She called Lowey a leader on many critical issues affecting the lives of New Yorkers and knows she'll continue to be an outstanding and effective congresswoman.

Aides to the first lady have recently said she's on the verge of declaring herself a candidate after several months of deliberations and consultations with experts.

So what many in Washington thought was just a trial balloon being floated to draw attention away from the impeachment scandal is very close to becoming reality. The betting now is that she is going to run.

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