Jim Geraghty reminds us that we're coming up on an anniversary. January 16, 2007 was the day Barack Obama launched his exploratory committee, prepping for a presidential run.
Here's a list of all the candidates who had at least announced exploratory committees by this day, four years ago, in the last cycle. I've put the details for candidates who did something else -- announcing a bid without an exploratory committee, or confirming they'd run -- in parentheses.
April 17, 2006: Mike Gravel (announcing a full-on campaign at the National Press Club)
October 30, 2006:
(announcing he'd retire from Congress and run for president)
November 9, 2006:
(announcing a full campaign)
November 13, 2006: Rudy Giuliani
November 15, 2006: John McCain
December 4, 2006: Sam Brownback
December 7, 2006: Bill Richardson (telling Fox News "I am running")
December 15, 2006: Tommy Thompson
December 19, 2006: Jim Gilmore
December 26, 2006: John Edwards
January 3, 2007: Mitt Romney
January 7, 2007: Joe Biden (announcing his intention to create a committee, on Meet the Press)
January 11, 2007: Chris Dodd (announcing a full-on run on Don Imus's show), Ron Paul
By contrast, in this election cycle, not even dark horse candidates like Herman Cain or John Bolton have announced anything yet.