Stay in the race, Hillary. At least for now...


A source high on the roster of Democrats working for former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner said Warner's presidential team hopes Sen. Hillary Clinton stays in the race until much closer to the 2008 primary season. Their hope is that her field-filling presence and vacuumlike approach to fundraising will fend off other Democrats from even entering the race. Media folderol aside, there's a rising chorus of partisan insiders who do not believe Senator Clinton will end up running for president.

If she were running, they point out, why would so many long shots be touting presidential aspirations? Just this month, Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd added his name to the list. Former Senate Majority and Minority Leader Tom Daschle, who couldn't even win re-election to his South Dakota Senate seat in 2004, says he is considering a run. The list of aspirants already includes Sens. Evan Bayh of Indiana, Joseph Biden of Delaware, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, and John Kerry of Massachusetts, as well as former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack.

The parry back to that argument is, these guys are running because they fear she will run and could win (not that they believe she really won't run.) A Clinton win would lock up the Democratic route to the White House until the year 2016, by which time many of them will be way past their presidential primes.