It’s February 2007, 17 months before the presidential election of 2008, and the race already has a casualty. The AP reports that Iowa’s former governor, Democrat Tom Vilsack is calling it quits.

“It is money and only money that is the reason we are leaving today,” Vilsack told reporters at a news conference, later adding, “We have a debt we’re going to have to work our way through.”

Vilsack, 56, left office in January and traveled to early voting states, but he attracted neither the attention nor the campaign cash of his top-tier rivals – Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama and John Edwards. He even faced obstacles in his home state.

In the most recent financial documents, Vilsack reported raising more than $1.1 million in the last seven weeks of 2006 but only had around $396,000 in the bank. Some campaign finance experts contend candidates will need $20 million by June 2007 to remain viable.

The money, in what analysts say will be the most expensive presidential campaign in history, is separating the coulda-beens from the also-rans even before some candidates have even declared their intention to run.

Greens? Libertarians? Are you fundraising yet???

But where did Vilsack’s million go? Check out: www.tomvilsack08.com

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