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The road to the White House -- a time line

February '07

2/10/07 >>On a cold Illinois day nearly two years ago, Barack Obama, pictured with his wife, Michelle, announced his candidacy for U.S. president on the steps of the Illinois Old State Capitol. He was the last Democrat to announce his campaign. Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Christopher Dodd, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson and Tom Vilsack were already in the race. Republicans Sam Brownback, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and Duncan Hunter were in the race on the GOP side.

2/13/07 >>Mitt Romney declares his candidacy for the Republican nomination.

2/23/07 >>Tom Vilsack withdraws from the race.

March '07

3/12/07 >>Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) announces his candidacy for the Republican nomination.

3/29/07 >>Civil rights leader, politician and minister Jesse Jackson endorses Obama. "He has my vote," the Rev. Jackson told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. His son, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois, had already endorsed Obama.

April '07

4/1/07 >>Tommy Thompson announces his candidacy for the Republican nomination.

4/2/07 >>Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) announces his candidacy for the Republican nomination.

4/25/07 >>Arizona Sen. John McCain announces his candidacy for the Republican nomination.

4/26/07 >>Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore announces his candidacy for the Republican nomination.

May '07

5/3/07 >>The Secret Service begins guarding Obama -- 18 months before the general election and the earliest a presidential candidate has ever been provided protection.

June '07

6/07 >>The "Obama Girl," Amber Lee Ettinger becomes an overnight celebrity when the music video "I Got a Crush on Obama," hits YouTube.

6/30/07 >>Barack Obama outraises Hillary Clinton in the second quarter of 2007 with a $31 million haul. Clinton raised $27 million during that period. Rudy Giuliani was the Republican fundraising winner; his campaign announced receipts of $17 million in the second quarter, $3 million more than the $14 million raised by Mitt Romney, and far ahead of John McCain, who was a distant third at $11 million.

June '07

Jim Gilmore withdraws from consideration for the GOP's nomination.

August '07

8/5/07 >>Republican contenders debate in Des Moines, Iowa.

8/9/07 >>The Democratic hopefuls also hold a roundtable in Los Angeles.

8/12/07 >>Tommy Thompson withdraws from the race.

September '07

9/5/07 >>Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, left, announces that he is formally joining the 2008 White House race, during the taping of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno".

9/14/07 >>Alan Keyes announces his candidacy for the Republican nomination.

9/17/07 >>Hillary Clinton announces a proposal for a universal health care plan.

October '07

10/2/07 >>Hillary Clinton raised $22 million for her presidential primary campaign this summer, outpacing all other candidates so far with her best three-month showing of the year. Her total fundraising of nearly $80 million for the 2008 presidential race puts her on par with her chief Democratic fundraising rival, Barack Obama. Obama reported raising at least $19 million from July through September for the primaries.

10/18/07 >>Sam Brownback withdrew from the race and later endorsed John McCain.

November '07

11/22/07 >> New Hampshire set its U.S. presidential primary for Jan. 8, 2008, ending months of speculation.

December '07

12/20/07 >> Tom Tancredo withdraws from the race and endorses Mitt Romney.

January '08

1/3/08 >>Democratic senators Joe Biden, pictured, and Christopher Dodd end their campaigns after poor showings in the Iowa caucuses.

1/9/08 >>Bill Richardson ends his campaign for the Democratic nomination.

1/19/08 >>Duncan Hunter ends his GOP campaign.

1/22/08 >>Fred Thompson withdraws from the race.

1/24/08 >>Dennis Kucinich drops out of the race on the Democratic side.

1/30/08 >>John Edwards drops out of the race on the Democrat side. Rudy Giuliani ends his GOP bid.

February '08

2/5/08 >>Twenty-four states award their delegates in primaries held on this date; the lion's share of delegates are at stake in these contests. Obama wins 13 states and 847 delegates; Clinton 10 contests and 834 delegates on the Democratic side. John McCain wins 9 states and 511 delegates, dwarfing the other Republican nominees still in the race.

2/7/08 >>Mitt Romney ends his Republican campaign.

March '08

3/4/08 >>Mike Huckabee ends his Republican campaign.

3/26/08 >>Mike Gravel switches to the Libertarian Party and continues his efforts there, until May 25, when his campaign ends.

April '08

4/6/08 >>Hillary Clinton's campaign strategist Mark Penn steps down after he became embroiled in a controversy involving a free trade agreement.

4/22/08 >>Clinton wins the Democratic Pennsylvania primary.

May '08

5/13/08 >>Hillary Clinton wins the West Virginia primary by 41 points, but fails to gain ground on Obama's delegate lead.

5/14/08 >>John Edwards throws his support behind Obama.

5/20/08 >>Barack Obama loses the Kentucky primary but wins Oregon's contest.

June '08

6/7/08 >>

Hillary Rodham Clinton, pictured, suspends her campaign on the Democratic side a few days after Barack Obama gains enough delegates to secure the nomination.

6/12/08 >>Ron Paul ends his GOP bid.

July '08

7/24/08 >>Barack Obama ends his trip abroad, during which he visited Israel, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq and Jordan, with a speech in Berlin in front of a crowd of 200,000.

August '08

8/23/08 >>Barack Obama chooses Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate.

8/25/08 >>The Democratic National Convention runs Aug. 25-28 in Denver, Colo.

September '08

9/1/08 >>John McCain chooses Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

9/1/08 >>The Republican National Convention is held Sept. 1-4 in St. Paul, Minn.

9/26/08 >>John McCain and Barack Obama participate in their first debate in Oxford, Miss.

October '08

10/7/08 >>The second debate is held in Nashville, Tenn.

10/15/08 >>The third debate is held in Hempstead, N.Y.

10/19/08 >>Retired Gen. and former Secretary of State Colin Powell, pictured, endorses Barack Obama for president of the United States.

November '08

11/4/08 >>Alan Keyes loses election as an independent.

11/4/08 >>Republican candidate John McCain, left, loses vote to Barack Obama. Obama received 53 percent of the popular vote and won the Electoral College vote handily 365 to 173.

December '08

12/3/08 >>President-elect Barack Obama works at filling out his cabinet with one nominee, former presidential candidate Bill Richardson, who backs out a month later for the commerce secretary appointment because of an investigation about improper business dealings in New Mexico. The Obamas visit Hawaii for a vacation during the holidays.

January '09

1/20/09 >>Barack Hussein Obama is sworn in as the nation's 44th president. The Bible used in Tuesday's inauguration is the same one used in Abraham Lincoln's ceremony on March 4, 1861.