Obama attracts crowds in visit to New Hampshire

Published December 11, 2006

MANCHESTER, N.H. - Sen. Barack Obama sparked a frenzy Sunday during his initial visit to the nation's first presidential primary state but said he hasn't decided whether to run in 2008 and questioned whether all the hype was just part of his "15 minutes of fame."

The Illinois senator said he is still "running things through the traps" as he considers whether to join a field of Democrats that is expected to include Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and other more experienced politicians.

"This is an office you can't run for just on the basis of ambition," Obama said at a news conference. "You have to feel deep in your gut that you have a vision for the country that is sufficiently important that it needs to be out there."

At every turn in New Hampshire, Obama got encouragement to run. Gov. John Lynch joked that the Rolling Stones were originally the headliners at a state party fundraiser where the $25 tickets quickly sold out. "But we canceled them when we realized Sen. Obama would sell more tickets," Lynch said.

Obama drew 1,500 Democrats to the fundraiser and several hundred more at a book signing in Portsmouth. Organizers of both events had to turn away many others.