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Pure Horserace: Hagel Drops A Hint

Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska hasn't been heard from much since he made a non-announcement in March, declaring that he hadn't yet decided on running for president. But on Sunday's Face The Nation, Hagel not only left the door open for a run, but also signaled that he's not happy with the Republican party and even said he's got a potential running mate in mind.

Rumors swirled a few weeks ago when Hagel and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg were seen dining together. In an interview with CBS News' Bob Schieffer, Hagel, a vocal critic of the Iraq war, did nothing to dispel such talk. "We didn't make any deals, but I think Mayor Bloomberg is the kind of individual who should seriously think about this," Hagel said. "He is the mayor of one of the greatest cities on earth. He makes that city work. That's what America wants."

Could a "New York boy and a Nebraska boy," as Hagel put it, win with an independent bid? Well, Bloomberg certainly has the money to fuel a campaign all by himself. And an independent bid wouldn't have to concern itself with the fast-approaching glut of primaries and caucuses.

Of course, in order to win, you also have to actually declare that you're running. Hagel has already cried wolf once, when reporters flocked to his March "announcement." If he's going to run, with Bloomberg or anyone else, he might want to start while voters still have patience and are still largely uncommitted to anyone else. — David Miller

The Best Kind of Bad News? Speaking of Bloomberg, the New York Daily News released a poll on Monday showing that — by large margins — New Yorkers not only believe Bloomberg has been a better mayor than Rudy Giuliani was, but also that Bloomberg would make a better president.

That's good news for Bloomberg, but could it also be a blessing in disguise for Giuliani? New York is second only to San Francisco on the list of cities that conservatives hold up as a symbol of excessive liberalism. If those city slickers in New York don't like Giuliani, does it boost his appeal among the country folk in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire? — David Miller

The Other Non-Candidate: Republican Fred Thompson isn't running for president, yet. But he got two days of attention for a speech that, by most accounts, wasn't even that good.

Perhaps that's why Newt Gingrich made an appearance Monday morning on ABC's "Good Morning America." The former House speaker has said for months that he's considering entering the race but wouldn't make a decision until September. However, he hasn't garnered nearly as much attention as Thompson, a less-polarizing figure whose entry into the GOP race seems weeks, not months, away.

Did Gingrich use his time on national TV to announce he had made up his mind early? To say that he would make his decision sooner than expected? Well, no. But he did up the rhetoric a bit, saying there was a "great possibility" — as opposed to just a run-of-the-mill possibility — that he would run. The words, even if they really don't mean much, are strong and remind Republicans and the media that Gingrich still hopes to be a factor in this contest. — David Miller

Bill Clinton Crops Up Again: Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign has so far made judicious use of her husband, former President Bill Clinton. He signed his name onto an e-mail fundraising appeal, but hasn't been out on the trail much rallying support for his wife's campaign. According to The New York Times, the Clinton camp is still deciding on when, and how, to increase Bill's role.

However, the former president made a splash online Monday with a lengthy video that gives a detailed description of Hillary Clinton's resume while lavishing praise on her work on children's issues and health care and drawing attention to her visits abroad as first lady.

The video could just be an attempt to bring attention to Clinton's campaign during a lull between debates. But if it signals an increase in Bill Clinton's presence in the race, we could be closer to answering one of the biggest question's about Hillary's candidacy: Will her husband lift her above her rivals — or end up sinking her? — David Miller

Remember, Texting Fees May Apply: Aside from Web sites, blogs, e-mails, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds and the occasional snail mail, it's pretty hard to keep up with your favorite presidential candidates. OK, it's actually insanely easy. But if you want to be interrupted in the middle of dinner or a meeting by Campaign '08, Hillary Clinton has exactly what you're looking for.

The Democratic frontrunner is taking her bid to one of the few realms that had thus far escaped the e-campaign: your cell phone. Starting Monday, anyone who wants to keep tabs on the former first lady can subscribe to Clinton's new text messaging service. According to a press release on the new service, subscribers receive "regular updates from Hillary's campaign, including messages and photos that are personalized for their area. The campaign will also ask for voters' input and offer a feature allowing supporters to surf Hillary's Web site on their mobile phones."

A word of warning to any potential subscribers: Given the ease of sending a text message, you might want to make sure you're on an "unlimited" plan before you sign up for this one. — David Miller

Editor's Note: Pure Horserace is a daily update of political news as interpreted by the political observers at Click here to sign up for the e-mail version.

By David Miller