He planned to do it by video on his website. What he somehow didn’t plan for was the inevitable Drudge link. The site’s down as of 10:24 — although the video section’s still working. Click the image to watch.

obama-vid.jpg

The theme? Healing.

I certainly didn’t expect to find myself in this position a year ago. But as I’ve spoken to many of you in my travels across the states these past months; as I’ve read your emails and read your letters; I’ve been struck by how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics…

[C]hallenging as they are, it’s not the magnitude of our problems that concerns me the most. It’s the smallness of our politics. America’s faced big problems before. But today, our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, common sense way. Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can’t tackle the big problems that demand solutions.

And that’s what we have to change first…

And that’s why I wanted to tell you first that I’ll be filing papers today to create a presidential exploratory committee. For the next several weeks, I am going to talk with people from around the country, listening and learning more about the challenges we face as a nation, the opportunities that lie before us, and the role that a presidential campaign might play in bringing our country together. And on February 10th, at the end of these decisions and in my home state of Illinois, I’ll share my plans with my friends, neighbors and fellow Americans.

Exit question: why didn’t he wait until tomorrow, when he’s on Oprah, to announce?

Second exit question: what god did he please to get Al Sharpton acting pissy towards him? It’s a Sistah Souljah moment times a thousand — which the Times of London, inexplicably, spins as possibly costing Obama votes among blacks instead of gaining him votes among whites wary of Sharpton’s race-baiting and demagoguery.

Civil rights leaders who have dominated black politics for much of the past two decades have pointedly failed to embrace the 45-year-old Illinois senator who is considering a bid to become America’s first black president…

“They are basically jealous,” said a Democratic strategist who has not yet decided which candidate he intends to support. “They’ve been toiling in the trenches for decades, and along comes this son of a Kenyan farmer and suddenly he’s measuring the drapes in the Oval Office.”…

When asked about Obama’s likely candidacy, [Sharpton,] renowned for outrageous self-publicising antics, shrugged: “Right now we’re hearing a lot of media razzle-dazzle. I’m not hearing a lot of meat, or a lot of content. I think when the meat hits the fire, we’ll find out if it’s just fat, or if there’s some real meat there.”

Update: Watch out, North American Union illuminati — the Tanc’s running for president, too.

Update: Hillary had scheduled a major foreign-policy press conference today. With Obamamania splashing down in newsrooms across the country, she’s now unscheduled it.