It was no real surprise that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton announced today that she is going to make a run at the White House in ’08. “I’m in, and I’m in to win,” she said, in a videotaped message that is posted on her website.

In the video she made predictable statements about the issues that some focus group has said matter most to you and I. According to Hillary, energy independence, deficit reduction, socialized health care, and ending the war in Iraq are at the top of her “to do�? list. Sen. In a written post on her website, Clinton also promised a three-day series of web “chats�? with voters starting Jan. 22nd at 7:00 (EST). So get your questions ready now. I’m sure the presidential hopeful (or the aid that is really fielding all the questions for her) will have some vague but well scripted answers for you.

The Hillary campaign team has been hard at work trying to pump up her image as well. In an effort to reassure voters that she is indeed a viable candidate for the presidency, in one posting on her site she tries to set the voters’ minds at rest by proclaiming:

“I have never been afraid to stand up for what I believe in or to face down the Republican machine” After nearly $70 million spent against my campaigns in New York and two landslide wins, I can say I know how Washington Republicans think, how they operate and how to beat them.”

The Clinton camp is off to a good financial start so far with about $14 million in the campaign treasury. That tops any other candidate in the field for now, but Clinton is going to have some stiff competition along the campaign trail, all of which will be trying to get their hands into the pockets of the same democrat supporters as she is.

In case you’ve not been watching, those other democratic candidates are, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, Sen. Barack Hussein Obama of Illinois, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Delaware Sen. Joe Biden and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson have not formerly announced but both say they intend to enter the race. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry is still undecided. Imagine that.

Hillary’s announcement seems to be unavailable at the the usual video dumping grounds, but this is a nice video of the unbiased journalists at CNN accurately reporting the then breaking news this morning. The written transcript (as posted in a press release at HillaryClinton.com) is also posted below.

Video Transcript: Presidential Exploratory Committee Announcement

HILLARY CLINTON: I announced today that I am forming a presidential exploratory committee.

I’m not just starting a campaign, though, I’m beginning a conversation — with you, with America. Because we all need to be part of the discussion if we’re all going to be part of the solution. And all of us have to be part of the solution.

Let’s talk about how to bring the right end to the war in Iraq and to restore respect for America around the world.

How to make us energy independent and free of foreign oil.

How to end the deficits that threaten Social Security and Medicare.

And let’s definitely talk about how every American can have quality affordable health care.

You know, after six years of George Bush, it is time to renew the promise of America. Our basic bargain that no matter who you are or where you live, if you work hard and play by the rules, you can build a good life for yourself and your family.

I grew up in a middle-class family in the middle of America, and we believed in that promise.

I still do. I’ve spent my entire life trying to make good on it.
Whether it was fighting for women’s basic rights or childrens’ basic health care. Protecting our Social Security, or protecting our soldiers. It’s a kind of basic bargain, and we’ve got to keep up our end.

So let’s talk. Let’s chat. Let’s start a dialogue about your ideas and mine.

Because the conversation in Washington has been just just a little one-sided lately, don’t you think? And we can all see how well that works.

And while I can’t visit everyone’s living room, I can try. And with a little help from modern technology, I’ll be holding live online video chats this week, starting Monday.

So let the conversation begin. I have a feeling it’s going to be very interesting.