DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Hillary Rodham Clinton says she isn't in a hurry to make a decision about running for president again. Her former Senate colleague, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, isn't waiting for her to make up her mind.
Schumer endorsed Clinton for president during a speech Saturday night at an Iowa Democratic Party dinner, more than two years before the state's presidential caucuses.
"Hillary's experience is unrivaled and her vision is unparalleled," Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, said of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
"It's time for a woman to be president," Schumer said as the crowd of 750 rose to their feet with enthusiastic applause. "And so tonight, here in Iowa, and I won't get this opportunity again, I am urging Hillary Clinton to run for president and, when she does, she will have my full and unwavering support."
With Clinton, Schumer said, the party can "vanquish the Ted Cruz, tea party Republicans in 2016." Cruz is a Texas senator and tea party favorite.
A Clinton spokesman, Nick Merrill, noted that Schumer was an "old colleague and an even older friend" of Clinton, and "what he said about her is very flattering. Ultimately though this is a very personal decision that she hasn't made."
Polls suggest Clinton would be the leading contender for the Democratic nomination if she were to run. She told New York magazine in an article published in September that she was wrestling with whether to run again and offered no timeline for an announcement.
"I'm not in any hurry. I think it's a serious decision, not to be made lightly, but it's also not one that has to be made soon," Clinton told the magazine.
Clinton has been careful to remain close to key Democratic voters, speaking before students, black women and the gay and lesbian community in recent months. While she has given speeches around the country, she has not visited the early voting state of Iowa.
Many top Democrats have been urging Clinton to run. The Ready for Hillary super PAC, launched by her supporters, has received endorsements from Democrats such as Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
Other potential Democratic candidates seeking the 2016 nomination include Vice President Joe Biden, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.
Iowa state Sen. Liz Mathis, a Democrat from Robins, said she was excited by Schumer's announcement.
"It paves a way into her election," said Mathis, who was a caucus leader for Clinton in 2008. "Primarily women in the party have come out in support of her, so it's very good to see male leaders in the party, too. It's important that everyone in the Democratic Party come out."
Associated Press writer Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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