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Obama announces re-election bid

US president Barack Obama has formally launched his re-election campaign, urging grass-roots supporters central to his first campaign to mobilise again to protect the changes he has brought in his first term.

The official start of his second White House bid comes 20 months before the November 2012 election.

"We're doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you - with people organising block-by-block, talking to neighbours, co-workers, and friends. And that kind of campaign takes time to build," Mr Obama said in an e-mail to supporters.

He told them he was filing the necessary paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, and directed them to his new campaign website where a launch video featured snippets from supporters testifying about their continued backing of the Democrat.

The step was widely expected and planned to coincide with the second fundraising quarter of the year. Filing paperwork will allow the president to begin raising money in earnest for what advisers hope will be a record-breaking haul of more than 1 billion dollars.

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