The Race For President Really Begins This Week

Mark this down as the week the race for president begins in earnest.

Hillary Clinton's relaunch is a go. Jeb Bush is officially off the sidelines. And the crowded GOP field now includes 11 candidates, while Democrats have four hopefuls in the race.

For Republicans especially, the pressure is on to make the most of their nascent campaigns to make it into the first presidential debate, which is a mere 52 days away on Aug. 6 in Cleveland.

"Everyone's starting their engines and deciding they're going to have to make this push now," said national GOP strategist Ford O'Connell.

Monday, all eyes were on Bush, as he officially launched his presidential campaign. Though he was one of the first to confirm in December he was "actively exploring" a bid — and he has so many establishment advantages of money and organization — his unofficial campaigning over the past few months has been unable to put any space between him and the rest of the field. He hopes his official campaign announcement can be something of a reset.

While the past two nominating cycles have seen the GOP establishment favorite eventually take the nomination, strategists warn that this cycle there's now no clear front-runner.

"He's the one with the hardest task," said Ford O'Connell, who worked for the Arizona senator's 2008 campaign. "Unlike previous establishment folks like [John] McCain and [Mitt] Romney, the one thing he faces they didn't is a very challenging field."

"A lot of people don't understand that running for president looks real easy from the cheap seats but it's a lot different from the ground," said O'Connell.

Read more from Jessica Taylor at NPR

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