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Obama launches bid for re-election

WASHINGTON, D.C. - With a short video on BarackObama.com, the sitting president of the United States has launched his bid for re-election.

Using what apparently will be one of his campaign slogans, "It begins with us," the campaign has told supporters that the kickoff of the campaign has started and that means the race for contributions is on.

The familiar-looking blue "O" over red and white stripes is back again for 2012. And at the bottom of the website, the candidates' names are clearly identified: OBAMA-BIDEN -- for Vice President Joe Biden.

Shortly afterward, Obama sent an e-mail to supporters to say he will also file papers Monday with the Federal Election Commission.

"We've always known that lasting change wouldn't come quickly or easily. It never does. But as my administration and folks across the country fight to protect the progress we've made -- and make more -- we also need to begin mobilizing for 2012, long before the time comes for me to begin campaigning in earnest," Obama said in his e-mail message.

He is expected to host his first re-election fundraiser in Chicago on April 14, according to the sources.

The president is making his campaign official slightly earlier than is typical for an incumbent so he can get a jump on fundraising in a season that's likely to shatter all records.

Obama's team has been asking campaign bundlers to raise $350,000 each, no easy task since campaign finance laws limit gifts to $2,500 per donor.