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Bernie Sanders

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Democratic primary season just got interesting.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is planning to launch his own campaign for the 2016 presidential nomination, becoming the first real challenger to what has long been characterized as Hillary Clinton's inevitable run for the White House, according to multiple reports.

The self-described democratic socialist is a registered Independent, but would run for president as a Democrat, according to Vermont Public Radio, which was first to report on the upcoming announcement. VPR says he'll throw his hat into the ring on Thursday.

Sanders, 73, is currently serving his second term in the Senate after 16 years in the House of Representatives, making him the longest-serving independent member of Congress.

He's an ardent supporter of the right for same-sex couples to marry (Vermont, of course, being the first state to legalize same-sex marriage through legislation back in 2009); and the bio on his official website hails him as a champion of renewal energy, veterans-affairs reform, greater access to affordable health care and improved education from pre-K through high school.

And for all intents and purposes, his bio speaks the truth, and it makes Sanders the first real threat to Clinton among liberal voters.

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders

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In an interview with The Nation in March 2014, Sanders basically said that he felt compelled to tackle the country's many problems.

"I don't wake up every morning, as some people here in Washington do and say, 'You know, I really have to be president of the United States. I was born to be president of the United States,'" he said, not naming any name as to who might wake up feeling that way every day.

"What I do wake up every morning feeling," he continued, "is that this country faces more serious problems than at any time since the Great Depression, and there is a horrendous lack of serious political discourse or ideas out there that can address these crises, and that somebody has got to represent the working-class and the middle-class of this country in standing up to the big-money interests who have so much power over the economic and political life of this country.

"I am prepared to run for president of the United States," Sanders said. "I don't believe that I am the only person out there who can fight this fight, but I am certainly prepared to look seriously at that race.

Asked what he actually meant, the congressman replied, "If the question is, am I actively right now organizing and raising money and so forth for a campaign for president, I am not doing that. On the other hand, am I talking to people around the country? Yes, I am. Will I be doing some traveling around the country? Yes, I will be. But I think it's premature to be talking about a campaign when we still have a 2014 congressional race in front of us."