Romney takes first official step towards running for president
April 11th, 2011
03:55 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney takes first official step towards running for president

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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.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. me

    The only sane on in the pack, too bad that isnt enough.

    April 11, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. Not Excited

    Please day it isn't so. He ruined my state. Please don't let him ruin our country.

    April 11, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. Tom P

    You have got to be kidding me...do you know what Mormons believe? Anyone who has any idea to vote for a Mormon should use google to find out what they believe. You might as well vote for someone who worships The Little Old Lady Who Lived In A Shoe.
    Sidenote: Saw "The Book of Mormon" on Broadway, and LOVED IT. This will help get the word out on Mormons.

    April 11, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. SAToday

    Didn't he get the message last time? We don't want him as a candidate. People thought McCain was a better choice and that didn't work out – I would like to be able to vote Republican but 2008, I certainly couldn't vote for McCain and in 2012 I certainly won't vote for Romney

    April 11, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. max

    MITT'S RUNNING FOR PREZ??? wow, didn't see that coming

    April 11, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  6. mike

    In other news, Ron Paul is the only one who can save us.

    April 11, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. Cracker

    The candidate that brings Tax reform as there next mandate, fairness in taxation through the flat tax system, is who gets my vote. We have done the cutting, now it's time to talk about the collecting, and the unfair system in place. Tax reform is the revolution, Tax reform and the flat tax rate is the historic mandate. get the conversation going, get the vision of a future.

    April 11, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. once upon a horse

    and as Ann Coulter said at C-PAC if given the nomination the GOP will LOSE! Run Mitt Run

    April 11, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. B

    Romney is an extremely wealthy person that has absolutely no sensitivity to the middle class working person.

    These people have already shown America what they believe in during the Bush years and have absolutely zero credibility.

    April 11, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. McJesus

    This is a guy who thought IRAQ = AL QAEDA. dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

    April 11, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Jeff E

    I might actually vote for Willard, he's a rich kid that never worked a day in his life for anything, never ran a business, he was given a business, huge difference. However, Obama literally rolls over on every single issue, I honestly have no clue where his line in the sand is on anything, enough is enough. I'm beginning to think even Willard might be better. The rest of the Repubs are a complete joke, in a normal world, not counting what America has become, they would literally be the clown act at the zoo.

    April 11, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. carlos

    and he should keep on running until he gets to Utah and be with his wives, by the way, which one told him to run?????

    April 11, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. Mike Brooks

    A white version of Obama is NOT an improvement. There is no discernible difference between these two self serving empty suits.

    April 11, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  14. kyle

    The first step to running is getting the ok from faux news.

    April 11, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. carlos

    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.

    If he has the same team as the last election,GOOD LUCK winning anything.......

    April 11, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  16. thmadm

    As a life long Republican I want to say that if the convention puts him on the ballot I probably won't vote. He is a Democrat in Republican clothing.

    April 11, 2011 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. dude

    The Repub. who brought health care for all to his state... we'll see if he doesn't get eaten by conservatives.... he should. Plus, he'd be the first cult member to be pres. I don't think so.

    April 11, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  18. John

    RUN ROMNEY RUN!!! I will vote for you.

    April 11, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. Bill

    It would make for interesting debates between President Obama and Mittens to see the Pres tout his health-insurance reform program while Mittens runs away from his.

    April 11, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  20. Jake

    the evangelicals don't like you, so good luck!
    vote Obama!

    April 11, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  21. BostonBlackie

    Great news! Romney is smart and no nonsense.Has great business acumen and knows how to get things done! Would restore credibility to the presidency and could be a great choice to unseat the present holder of the office who is all smoke and mirrors.

    April 11, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  22. Davy

    Good Bye Mitt Romney. You're not a good leadership so run to mommie.

    April 11, 2011 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  23. Dennis

    He can't be running, I haven't heard him question the President's Birth Certificate.

    April 11, 2011 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    He will be a strong candidate. He scares the hell out of the liberals.

    April 11, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  25. dt74

    So far he is the least crazy that the Republican have to offer

    April 11, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
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