2008: Barring some nefarious plot by Hillary Clinton, Obama will be running for president until November. For purposes of this exercise, we’ll count this as 11 months of campaigning.
2007: Announced exploratory committee on January 16. Formally announced presidential campaign on February 10. I’m counting all 12 months.
2006: Serving in U.S. Senate. While some would argue Obama was unofficially campaigning already, including appearing at events in Iowa, for the purposes of this calculation we will count his campaigning as starting from the announcement of the exploratory committee. 0 months.
2005: Serving in U.S. Senate. 0 months.
2004: Running for U.S. Senate; elected in November. 11 months.
2003: Running for U.S. Senate. 12 months.
2002: Spent half the year preparing the groundwork for his U.S. Senate campaign; he launched his campaign committee in late June. His campaign often cites the 2002 antiwar rally as a key moment in his campaign. 6 months.
2001: Serving in Illinois State Legislature. 0 months.
2000: Lost the March 21 House primary against Rep. Bobby Rush. 3 months.
1999: Announces bid to challenge Rep. Bobby Rush in September. 4 months.
If you begin counting from September 1999, there are 111 months between then and November 2008, and Obama campaigned for higher office in 53 percent of those months. (This does not count any campaigning to retain his seat in the state legislature.)
Now, with yesterday’s announcement, Obama is a formally declared candidate again. Updating the list:
2009: Serving as president. 0 months.
2010: Serving as president. 0 months.
2011: Running for reelection, April 4. Barring some sudden interruption, Obama will spend 9 months as a declared candidate.
2012: Again, barring some sudden interruption, Obama will campaign until November, spending 11 months as a declared candidate.
This means in the 10 years between November 2002 and November 2012, Obama will have been a declared candidate for higher office or presidential reelection for 67 of those 120 months, almost 56 percent.