"Obamania" — or the near idol-worship of freshman Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois — isn't deterring Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is now in the thick of a possible 2008 presidential bid, courting supporters in New York and looking for campaign staff.
Clinton, elected to a second term last month with 67 percent of the vote, is talking one-on-one with Democratic bigwigs in New York and around the country as she begins to gin up support for a White House candidacy, a top aide said Sunday.
"She spoke with our chairman, Denny Farrel, she spoke with [Rep. Charles] Rangel, the dean of the delegation. And she met today with [Gov.-elect] Elliott Spitzer," longtime adviser Howard Wolfson told FOX News. "Over the coming days, she'll be meeting and talking with as many people as she can."
Clinton is also turning her focus to key political states. She had planned to visit to New Hampshire, host of the nation's first primary, in March. That's now been moved up to next week.
Staffers have also begun calling and assembling contacts for her in Iowa, the first caucuses state. Iowa's Democratic Party chairman told FOX News late last week that the state's party faithful had felt snubbed by Clinton, who they say has basically ignored them to date.
Obama, the freshman senator and new media darling, recently went to Iowa to promote his recent book, a rite of passage for many newcomers who would be president. He is also going to New Hampshire next week.
Wolfson denied that Clinton's schedule had been pushed forward because of the buzz surrounding Obama.
"That's, I'm afraid, not quite accurate. She actually said several different times she'd begin this process right after the election, and that's exactly what she's doing," Wolfson said, adding that she will take the month of December to test the waters. "She's engaged in that process right now, and the first step obviously is to begin talking with colleagues in the New York congressional delegation asking for their opinions and their wisdom. And that process is ongoing."
The former first lady made history in 2000 by winning a Senate seat after having lived in the White House as chief spouse for eight years. Polls frequently show her running first or second as a hypothetical 2008 Democratic nominee. A presidential victory would also be an historic first for a woman in the United States.
Wolfson did not say when Clinton would make an official announcement, though declaring early seems to be the modus operandi this newly-dawning election season. Already on record as Democrats interested in a White House occupancy are Sens. Joseph Biden of Delaware, John Kerry of Massachusetts, Evan Bayh of Indiana and Obama.
Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina is also looking at the party's nomination as is Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who began his campaign for the nomination last week.
Clinton returns to Capitol Hill this week for official business that includes a confirmation hearing for Defense Secretary-nominee Robert Gates. Clinton serves on the Senate Armed Services panel that will be questioning Gates.
FOX News' Megyn Kendall and Serafin Gomez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.