At a farm near Mason, New Hampshire, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney just announced that he is running for president. "I’m Mitt Romney, " Romney said. "I believe in America, and I’m running for president of the United States."
Romney, who also sought the Republican nomination in 2008, spoke about his experience as governor and as a businessman, but saved much of his speech to criticize the current president.
"Barack Obama has failed America," Romney said. "When he took office, the economy was in recession, and he made it worse, and it he made it last longer." He pointed to the country's high unemployment rate and noted that Obama's stimulus package has not brought the increase in jobs the president promised it would.
Romney went after Obama for his lack of experience in the private sector. "If you want to create jobs, it helps to have actually had a job," Romney said. "And I have." Romney also criticized Obama for his coziness with labor groups. "It’s time for a president who cares more about America’s workers than he does about America’s union bosses," he said.
Citing both his business experience and his time as governor of Massachusetts, Romney argued that he knows how to "turn around" a crisis. He also said that he balanced the budget in the Bay State without raising taxes and that he even cut taxes 19 times. (Philip Klein points to a Politifact study that explains Romney did raise fees for state services and removed tax loopholes.)
Romney also mentioned his controversial support for the Massachusetts health care reform plan, mentioning that it was a "state solution to a state problem" and conceding that it was "not perfect."
The speech contained a few general references to what Romney would do if he were elected president. "I will cap federal spending at 20 percent or less of the economy and finally, finally balance the budget," Romney said to cheers.
Romney also spoke at length about American exceptionalism. "[I see] an America of freedom and opportunity," Romney said. "President Obama sees a different America, and he’s taken us in a different direction."
"I refuse to believe that America is just another place on the map with a flag," Romney later said.
According to Real Clear Politics, Romney has a slight lead among the other contenders for the Republican nomination based on averaged poll results.