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

Romney takes first official step towards running for president


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. Rick in Phx

    So if he decides to run and wins. Will he get sworn in using "The Book of Mormon"?

    April 11, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. mark

    He will win this time. and that scares the hell out of the liberals/obo.

    April 11, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. Unknown

    I would to watch the debate between him and Obama debate over health care. It would be so hilarious!

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

    I would rather get stabbed in the front by Obama, then stabbed in the back by another Squishy RINO.

    Republican leaders, get your heads out of your rears. TEA Party candidate or face losing Again.

    April 11, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  5. Mark Jeffery Koch

    If Mitt Romney wants my vote, and I am a lifelong Democrat, than he has to dump the social conservatism of the Republican Party, support civil unions, the environment, a woman's right to choose, and if not ObamaCare then something concrete that takes the majority of the 50 million uninsured Americans from having no insurance to an affordable health care plan for all.

    First, if he does any of the above he will either not get the nomination or there will be a walkout at the Republican National Convention. Second, he has got to stop changing his long held positions depending on the latest opinion polls and take a firm stand and not worry about who he is alienating. The likelihood of this? Nil.

    I would rather see a clear choice in November of 2012 between a Democrat who states what he believes in and where he will take the country than a Republican who does not know what he truly believes in and is kissing the behinds of the social conservatives by agreeing to things he never did before in his drive to become the nominee. If Romney wants to be seen as more than a television anchorman lookalike then he has to take a stand for something significant percentages of his party may not agree with. That is leadership. Otherwise, he is an empty suit with a nice head of hair and nothing else and with two wars, the economy trying to recover, millions out of work and millions who have lost their homes, and millions without medical insurance, America deserves and needs much more.

    April 11, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. Toby21

    One resorts to name calling once the debate is lost. Most idiots on here don't know jack about the facts and are incapable of intelligent discourse. Most of you need to get a life (or at least a therapist)

    April 11, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  7. Sean

    "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."

    And whose party is the reason for that, you deceptive idiot?

    April 11, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
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