IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Illinois Sen. Barack Obama said Sunday he will give a presidential campaign “serious consideration” after midterm elections are over.

For now, the Democrat said he is focused on helping his party’s candidates get elected Tuesday.

“Keep in mind that we’re two days out from an incredibly important election,” Obama told The Associated Press while traveling to a rally here for Iowa gubernatorial candidate Chet Culver.

“I think the message is that this country is in a mood for a new direction,” he said. “I think that’s why some of the typical attacks aren’t working.”

Obama was making his third swing this year through Iowa, where precinct caucuses traditionally launch the presidential nominating season.

Though he’s only in his first term in the Senate, Obama has risen fast inside the Democratic Party. He energized many with a keynote speech at the last Democratic National Convention, and he’s widely sought as a fundraiser for Democrats across the country.

That role may soon change as he mulls a run at the White House.

“After the election, I’m going to sit down and give the possibility the serious consideration it deserves,” said Obama.

He said his decision would be based on his family, but “it also involves thinking about where the American people are at.” He set no timetable for making a decision.

Potential rivals have already been stumping in Iowa for months. Obama said his decision will be independent of what other potential candidates decide, and he conceded the media scrutiny will only increase in the coming weeks.

“I’m sure hard-hitting journalists will be asking tougher questions,” he said.

Obama’s three visits to Iowa have attracted large crowds and a favorable response, though he said, “I’m always mistrustful of hype.”

The senator joined Culver at an outdoor rally Sunday night near the University of Iowa, speaking to more than 1,000 cheering activists.

Obama urged party loyalists to work tirelessly before the election to convince friends and neighbors to vote Tuesday.

“Remind them about the stakes in this election,” he said.


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