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Iowa's Vilsack Has Eyes on White House

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Iowa's Vilsack Has Eyes on White House

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Iowa's Vilsack Has Eyes on White House

Iowa's Vilsack Has Eyes on White House

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/6571190/6571191" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack waves to supporters during a rally Thursday at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant. Scott Morgan/Getty Images hide caption

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Scott Morgan/Getty Images

Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack waves to supporters during a rally Thursday at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant.

Scott Morgan/Getty Images

Iowa's two-term governor, Democrat Tom Vilsack, announced his candidacy for the presidency this week.

He is the first Democrat to formally announce, although Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh is said to be ready to throw his hat in the ring.

Vilsack acknowledges that he will have to make up ground against better-known candidates. A June poll in Iowa's Des Moines Register showed Vilsack running fourth among prospective Democratic candidates.

He says he has started every race he's ever run in as an underdog, so he's comfortable in that role.

Twenty years ago, Vilsack — a lawyer by trade — was asked to run for mayor of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, a town of 8,000 people. He was approached to run after a gunman opened fire in a town council meeting, killing the previous mayor and two council members.

He later served in the state Senate before running for governor.