Clinton steps up preparations for presidential bid

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has hired several major staff members for her likely 2008 presidential bid, and the new attention she is paying influential New York Democrats has convinced at least one she soon would run. "I don't think she ever outright said it, but there's no doubt in my mind that she's going to run," said Rep. Joseph Crowley, who spoke Monday with the wife of former President Bill Clinton. "It was a very exciting and exhilarating conversation. I don't know how often it happens in a lifetime when someone calls you up and says, `I want you to know I'm doing this and I want your support."' Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack declared his candidacy last week. Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh said Sunday he was forming a presidential exploratory committee.