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When does exploring become exploring?

The Washington Post last week had Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in mind when it pondered the question of the point at which candidates must file papers for a presidential exploratory committee to raise money and pay for activities leading up to actual candidacy.

Former Federal Election Commission Chairman Scott Thomas talked to the Post about Clinton’s situation. She has a so-called leadership PAC, which can raise unlimited funds, but had not yet formed an exploratory committee, which is more restricted. “If her leadership PAC is paying for her to fly around and speak in public settings, and it looks like that activity is toward a campaign effort, that would trigger a requirement that she file,” Thomas said.

Gov. Mike Huckabee is using unlimited contributions to his Hope for America PAC to fly around and speak in public settings and he has said that the idea is to see if people are receptive enough to his message that he should run for president. Would that, as Thomas put it, “trigger a requirement that he file?”

Talking points

University of Arkansas Athletic Director Frank Broyles apparently expected some tough questions when he went to speak to a UA Alumni Association meeting in Dallas last week. He was prepared with a handout that listed talking points about UA athletics, recently in controversy over the departure of Coach Gus Malzahn and some highly recruited players.

After the list, several of which follow, Broyles asked: “Does that sound like a program in disarray to you?”

• Posted a 10-4 record, including 7-1 in the SEC

• Won the SEC Western Division.

• SEC Coach of the Year, Houston Nutt.

• Broyles Award finalist Reggie Herring, for top assistant coach in country.

• Heisman Trophy runnerup Darren McFadden.

• Third appearance in SEC championship game.

• Won 10 straight for first time since 1988.

• Finished 15th in AP poll; 16th in USA Today, highest since 1989.

• Lost to four teams that finished in top five nationally.

• Played eight ranked and eight bowl teams.

• Played 9th-toughest schedule in Division 1-A.

• Upset Auburn on the road, along with all other conference road games.

• Became third SEC team to have two 1,000-yard rushers.

Broyles listed one tiny negative: “Two players and one coach decide to pursue their future at other institutions. 120 players and 9 coaches remain committed to the Razorback program and are excited about the future.”

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