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. Paul

    The only Republican who has a chance. As long as he runs on his business and economic credentials I think he will win

    April 11, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Vince

    Good luck Mitt. Enjoy having to defend YOUR healtcare laws in Mass against the crazy right!

    April 11, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Ronnie

    He will never carry my state of Texas.There is no chance a morom with their weird beliefs will be elected as President.

    April 11, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Red Pison

    Who the heck would vote for this guy? He's a crook through and through.

    April 11, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. Marjee123

    Should we start asking him WHERE'S YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND DOES IT SHOW THAT YOU FATHER WAS BORN IN MEXICO. And why didn't his father file for immigration status and become a citizen...they are all over Obama because his father was not born in the US and they SAY, ERRONEOUSLY he was born in Kenya. So accordingly to the tea bags spewings just where is the legamitacy of Romney.

    April 11, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. Dave

    Another NAZI enters the ring..

    April 11, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. dj

    He has lost already!

    April 11, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. duke

    YEAH!! Its about time. Mitt tell everyone why your mandatory health insurance law is Constitutional buT Obamas isnt

    April 11, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. Larry L

    He's rich, white, pretty, and shallow. The perfect Republican candidate. Still, his view of government looks a lot like something a Democrat might create. He may not crazy enough to hop on the GOP Circus Train. Woo – woo!

    April 11, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. JOHN IN AZ

    Forget Romney. He is just another misguided Republican plus he has religious baggage that will keep him out.

    April 11, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. John

    Romney is a Mormon. Let him explain that cult. I want to hear him say Josepah Smith and Brigham Young were right to be polygamists. I want to hear him saw Joseph Smith died a noble death. I want to hear him say Joseph Smith found gold tablets that say polygamy is fine. I want to hear him say alcohol ,Blacks, Gays, Gay marriage, non-Mormons are evil, because the Mormon cult has preached that. Romney tell us you really believe that cult religion.

    April 11, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. Al

    One word that will hurt him Romneycare!

    April 11, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. Eli

    Mitt Romney: The adult in the room.

    April 11, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. Patricia

    "In addition he loaned his campaign $42.3 million from his personal funds." In other words, his supporters can best believe that they will be financing his campaign because "he needs his money back."

    April 11, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  15. George

    If Romney is the best the Republican party has to offer, then President Obama has nothing to worry about. Re-election will be a slam dunk.

    I remember when Romney got elected governor in MA. Big promises, big accomplishments, big vision .. and what, he fizzled a year down the road and people voted for a Democrat again.

    The Republican party has no serious potential opponents to Obama except for Ron Paul. Fortunately, the Republicans will never let him win the primaries. He would be really bad for Corporate America because he will limit federal spending to a minimum and all those military contracts, all those profuse big bang projects, all the pork will go away. No way John Bohner and Co would let that happen.

    April 11, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. Bill

    Save your money – ooops I mean our taxpayer money Mitt. You will lose.

    April 11, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. vbscript2

    The difference between MA's health insurance mandate and the federal one: MA's is legal. Constitution FTW.

    April 11, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "Romney takes first official step towards running for president "

    Hmmm...if you mean assuming a smug, holier-than-thou, self-righteous and slightly snide tone while spreading knee-jerk criticism of the current POTUS and perseverating baseless talking points replete with randian reagonomic voodoo economic ideological promises of "if we just give the rich even more money, it'll work this time"... then yes, that would indeed be the first step in runing for POTUS as a GOPer.

    April 11, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. thomas

    Exploratory committee , sounds like he's going to the South Pole ! Did any of his sons serve in the military ?

    April 11, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Dennis

    I'd be shocked if he wasn't running. Here is a guy who understands economic issues and has a positve track record of economic accomplishments.

    April 11, 2011 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. lB Colorado

    I won't vote republican only if Trump is on the ticket. Mr. Trump, don't attack Obama, he is not the enemy really. Attack the handling of finances and show the government how to be good stewards of the money. Also, show them how not to give a way the farm. I believe you have the stamina and intestinal fortitude to get things done in DC, personal attacks is not what will win an election, intelligence and B__LS and the ability to say "YOUR FIRED".

    April 11, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Go Romney!

    April 11, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  23. Russ

    So this is like saying if it rains the ground may get wet. Why is this news, let alone "Breaking News"?

    April 11, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  24. Jeffrey Lewis

    uh ooo.....Mitt Romney is running for this is one Republican that I like but this is the question I have: "Are you going to be heavily influence by party affiliation as President?" You was a great Governor and a independent thinker, lets see if you can hold that! And I still would like to see Chuck Hagel (R) run one day, he's the BEST on either side!

    April 11, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. smc

    If Romney is "convinced that America has been put on a dangerous course by Washington politicians, and it has become even worse during the last two years." Then he is part of the problem and not part of the solution. Stock prices are up, unemployment is going down, and we are slowly working our way out of the near depression Republicans left us in 2 years ago. If he thinks things were "better" 2 years ago, he needs his head examined.

    Voters are going to be listening to Romney's every word. If he opts to take a shift to the far right like McCain did leading up to 2008, stick a fork in him, he's done. Can the Republicans put any sane candidates forward in 2012 ... independent voters are waiting to find out.

    April 11, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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