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Selling Books or Running For Prez?

Nine months ago on "Meet the Press," Tim Russert asked Barack Obama point blank: "So you will not run for president or vice-president in 2008?" Mr. Obama responded flatly, "I will not." In a cover story for Chicago Magazine the following month Mr. Obama reiterated his intention not to run for President in 2008.

These days, however, as he hits the circuit to promote his new book "The Audacity of Hope," Mr. Obama is conspicuously coy in responding to questions about 2008, saying only that he's "focused" on the 2006 midterms just nineteen days away. In the meantime, Mr. Obama is using his considerable star power to exploit the media machine to its fullest. The new issue of Time Magazine, which landed on the newsstands on Monday, carries his picture on the cover, an excerpt from his book, and a 3,178-word buff and shine piece by Joe Klein.

Yesterday Mr. Obama and his wife appeared on Oprah (the show was taped back on Oct. 3) where he again easily dodged the 2008 issue. This morning David Brooks begins his column in the New York Times by writing, "Barack Obama should run for President." Tonight Mr. Obama will field an hour's worth of softballs from Larry King.

And on Sunday Mr. Obama will come full circle and return to the set of "Meet the Press" where, presumably, Tim Russert will pull out a video clip from January and confront Mr. Obama with his unequivocal statement that he doesn't intend to run 2008. That should make for quite an interesting moment.