Huffpost Politics

Mitt Romney 2012 Campaign For President Launches

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MITT ROMNEY 2012

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney declared his candidacy for president of United States on Thursday.

The Republican hopeful made the announcement in the key early primary state of New Hampshire, the same battleground featured in a web video he released earlier this year in launching his presidential exploratory committee.

Romney's pitch was tailored to the conservatives who hold great sway in picking the GOP's presidential nominee in Iowa and South Carolina — and the independents who are the largest political bloc in New Hampshire. And it was as much a thesis on his viability as it was an indictment of Obama's leadership.

"A few years ago, Americans did something that was, actually, very much the sort of thing Americans like to do: We gave someone new a chance to lead, someone we hadn't known for very long, who didn't have much of a record but promised to lead us to a better place," Romney said, describing the man he hopes to meet head-to-head in November 2012. "At the time, we didn't know what sort of a president he would make. ... Now, in the third year of his four-year term, we have more than promises and slogans to go by. Barack Obama has failed America."

The Granite State will be crucial for Romney's strategy in 2012. He came in second place in New Hampshire during his 2008 bid and has invested heavily in the state since.

Romney has built an experienced political team, collected serious campaign cash and crafted a campaign that is ready to go full-bore. While his likely opponents have jostled for the spotlight, Romney largely has worked in private to fine-tune his political machine. He has chosen to weigh in through statements and editorial pages instead of interviews with journalists or town hall-style meetings with voters.

On Friday, Romney starts to shift that strategy. He has scheduled his first town hall meeting for Manchester and later planned to speak at a Faith and Freedom forum in Washington.

Party leaders have yet to rally around him. Romney hopes his tough talk will inspire support.

HuffPost's Jon Ward recently reported:

A top goal of the nation’s most influential national Tea Party group is to stop Mitt Romney from winning the Republican nomination for president.

Interviews with top officials at FreedomWorks, a Washington-based organizing hub for Tea Party activists around the country, revealed that much of their thinking about the 2012 election revolves around derailing the former Massachusetts governor.

“Romney has a record and we don’t really like it that much,” said Adam Brandon, the group’s communications director.

Romney comes to a presidential contest that lacks a front-runner. In the past week, the still-forming field became less certain with hints that Texas Gov. Rick Perry was considering a bid. Tea party darling Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota is inching toward a run, perhaps giving the anti-tax, libertarian-leaning grassroots movement a candidate to rally around.

Romney sought to claim a slice of that constituency when describing families struggling to get by.

"It doesn't matter if they are Republican or Democrat, independent or libertarian," Romney said. "They're just Americans ... an American family."

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