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Ex-Iowa Gov. Vilsack dropping 2008 presidential bid

NASHUA, N.H. --Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack dropped his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination today, the Globe has confirmed.

A senior campaign official said the campaign simply could not keep up with the type of campaign funds that rivals like Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were raising.

Vilsack is expected to make a formal announcement at noon eastern time from his headquarters in Des Moines.

He joins fellow Democrats Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and former Virginia Governor Mark Warner who also ended their presidential aspirations in recent months, a reflection of how intense the campaign has become even though it is a full 11 months until the first state votes.

A two-term governor, Vilsack formally launched his presidential campaign last November, among the first to do so. Known as a political moderate when he as governor, Vilsack took fairly liberal positions when it came to his calling for troops to get out of Iraq come home and his energy policy that was among the more aggressive in getting the country off foreign sources of oil.

He often repeated that when it came to elections he often started as an underdog, but that he has yet to lose a race. Last week as a guest on the Tonight Show, host Jay Leno implied more than once he should be prepared to lose this time.

Strategically speaking Vilsack was in a bit of a tough spot. For him to have any shot at the presidential nomination he would have to win his home state's first-in-the-nation caucuses (where the latest Iowa poll showed him in third place), but at the same time he had to develop a national organization.

As such he has spent much of his time campaigning in Iowa. Yesterday he held his 18th town hall meeting in the Hawkeye State.

He was scheduled to visit New Hampshire on Monday and Tuesday. He didn't have any staff on the ground in New Hampshire, but did garner the support of two prominent activists, Stonyfield Farm CEO Gary Hirshberg and state Representative Jim Ryan.