Washington (CNN) - Mitt Romney Monday took his first formal step towards launching another bid for the White House.
The former Massachusetts governor, who was a candidate for 2008 Republican presidential nomination, announced that he was setting up a presidential exploratory committee.
"From my vantage point in business and in government, I have become convinced that America has been put on a dangerous course by Washington politicians, and it has become even worse during the last two years. But I am also convinced that with able leadership, America's best days are still ahead," says Romney, in a video to supporters. "That is why today I am announcing my Exploratory Committee for the Presidency of the United States."
Romney spends most of his time in the video talking about the economy, touting his experience in creating jobs and balancing budgets in the business world. Romney taped his video at the University of New Hampshire and starts his message by pointing out that he spoke Monday morning to students at the Durham, New Hampshire campus. The state holds the first primary in the presidential primary and caucus calendar and is considered a must win contest for Romney.
Monday's announcement allows Romney to begin to fundraise for a White House bid.
"While this step does not constitute a formal announcement of candidacy, it allows Governor Romney to be in compliance with the requirements of federal election law as he begins to raise the funds necessary to explore a potential candidacy," says an email release from Romney's campaign.
Romney raised $65.1 million in contributions for his 2008 bid for the GOP nomination. In addition he loaned his campaign $42.3 million from his personal funds.
As of Monday afternoon, Romney's "statement of organization" and the letter serving as his "statement of candidacy" are both now on file with the Federal Election Commission.
Romney is the second major GOP candidate to announce an exploratory committee. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced an exploratory committee on March 21. Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer and conservative radio talk show host and former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain have also formed exploratory committees.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich filed paperwork with the IRS in March to form a fundraising committee to "explore" the possibility of a presidential bid.
Romney's announcement comes one day before the fifth anniversary of the signing by the former Massachusetts governor of a universal health care law in the Bay state. The measure, which has been criticized by some fellow Republicans, could hurt Romney with GOP primary and caucus voters.
Massachusetts Democrats are holding a party Tuesday to mark the occasion, including a "Thank You Mitt Romney" cake. And next door in New Hampshire, which holds the first primary in the race for the White House, Democratic party officials are urging supporters to tweet Romney to thank him for standing "shoulder-to-shoulder with Senator Kennedy to sign Massachusetts' historic health care reform law."
But senior Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom tells CNN that "somehow I'm not surprised that Democrats are sitting around eating cake while 14 million unemployed Americans are struggling to put food on their table."
On April 12, 2006, the then Republican governor in a state dominated by Democrats, signed into law a health care plan that would insure almost every resident of Massachusetts. At the time, it was praised by supporters of health care reform as a landmark achievement for Romney. The lynchpin of the law was an insurance mandate that required the people of Massachusetts to get health insurance.
Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who is expected to make a run for the GOP presidential nomination, has been critical of the Massachusetts law, as has former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who ran for the White House in 2008 and may make another bid for the Republican nomination in 2012.
Romney addressed his record in a March speech, explaining the law was a "state plan intended to address problems that were in many ways unique to Massachusetts."
"Our experiment wasn't perfect. Some things worked. Some didn't. And some things I'd change," Romney said. "One thing I would never do is to usurp the constitutional power of states with a one-size-fits-all federal takeover."
Romney is considered by many handicappers to be one of the favorites to win his party's presidential nomination. Most national polls of possible Republican primary and caucus voters put Romney at or near the top in the battle for the nomination.
Romney's brought back many, but not all, of his advisers from his 2008 bid. Monday's announcement wasn't leaked prior to the message going up on Romney's campaign website, a sign that his closest advisers are keeping on message and staying disciplined.
So basically any one rich and white is running for president right.
Woooo! Now tell me something I don't know! I wonder how much of his own buckage he'll spend on this campaign?
9/11 part 2 coming up!
He has run for President before. Why does he need an exploratory committee?
"It is time that we put America back on a course of greatness, with a growing economy, good jobs and fiscal discipline in Washington," YOU?! OH IT IS TO LAUGH!
Woohoo! Let's watch GOP candidates destroy eachother...
And this is the best the GOP has to offer? Why don't you just take up Broomstick Pawlenty as your #2, Mitt, and make the ticket twice as worthless?
I'll vote for Obama before I vote for Romney.
I would vote for anyone other than the incomptent Baffon we have running the country now. I knew Obama was weak and now its all been confirmed as he has succumbed to the GOP on tax cuts, trade agreements and spending cuts. My little sisters had more backbone than Obama on his best day.
Romney likes to waste money. As a member of the Mormon cult he will never get in
Good. The race just didn't feel complete without a magic underwear candidate in there.
No way would I consider voting for Mitt. He is too extreme right for our nation. Besides Mitt is in it for Mitt, no one else.
I would love to see he and Donald Trump face off.
Super duper. I remember you as the Gov of Taxachusetts Mitt, and you were a elitest, racist and uber-christian lapdog of the rich and powerful back then. How's about you explore not running for President.
What a joke. Anyone who votes for this guy needs to have their head examined.
He's too much like a phony game show host. Even has the voice of one. Nope, pass.
love how he talks about how Obama hasn't created any jobs and that he has, except that he never created any jobs when the economy is at its worst.
They are going to have to move the convention because there will be so many candidates. The one who will be chosen is.. the one who says the same thing as all the others.. but better. You know.. the President has done so many things badly, is responsible for high gas prices, etc., etc. We've heard it from Mitt before.
And If you believe that I'm a good candidate; then you obviousty must have rode the bus with tinted windows to school
Romney redux for 2012? In the immortal words of Gomer Pyle: "surPRISE, surPRISE, surPRISE!"
Never going to get past that health care bill you saddled Taxachussets with Mitt.
here we go again... MUTT Romney, vote for me... Woof Woof Woof
This should be an easy win for Obama then.
"It is time that we put America back on a course of greatness, with a growing economy, good jobs and fiscal discipline in Washington," Romney said in the video.
We need REAL change, someone that isn't part of the "Washington Elite", someone that is one of us – the everyday average man or woman that doesn't have ties to businesses or governement, someone that will not be bought or blackmailed into doing something that is wrong for the American people.
"To remedy such problems (jobless benefits) we need a very different model, perhaps establishing individual unemployment savings accounts over which employees would exercise direct control when they lose their jobs... One thing is certain: While we cannot rebuild our flawed system overnight, we are surely not required to borrow the funds to pay for it. In spending $56.5 billion to extend benefits, the deal is sacrificing the bedrock Republican principle that new expenditures be paid for with offsetting budget cuts."_Mitt Romney 12/10/2010
See Romney is worth over $200 million so he was happy with the extension of the Bush tax cuts (but of course wanted to make them permanent), but he wrote an op-ed in USA Today complaining about how the unemployment extension was a poor deal. Mitt's a typical Republican but he stands no chance of winning the Presidency anyway.