Although attack ads and negative campaigning ended just a month ago, presidential candidates are already queuing up.

Democrats are hoping collectively to put their best foot forward in 2008 after voters tossed out some Republicans in November’s elections. Sen. Evan Bayh’s plans for an exploratory committee make the situation even more interesting for Hoosiers.

Bayh has some advantages over the last Hoosier to seek a presidential bid — Dick Lugar, the senior senator from Indiana. Lugar’s physical stature is not imposing and he lacks charisma, a serious shortcoming when discussing issues on a national stage.

Bayh, 50, is well spoken although he carefully avoids significant controversy. He has been a centrist throughout his political career, especially in his two terms as Indiana governor. He left the governor’s office without approving a tax increase, but one of his legislative proposals included a hospital tax that subsequently failed in the Legislature.

The son of former Sen. Birch Bayh has also had good political timing, bowing out of the governor’s office before the state economy soured.

One of Bayh’s opponents is likely to be Hillary Rodham Clinton, who invites polarized views because of her eight years as first lady. Some suggest Clinton may be too liberal for many voters, although her gender may be an advantage for half of the nation’s population.

There will be other Democratic and Republican candidates emerging soon to declare their intentions to run for the presidency. So there really is no respite from the campaigning.

The presidential contest requires an early start, and the politicking is already under way.

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