AP Photo/Stephan Savoia
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney today formally declared his intention to seek the 2012 Republican nomination for president.
Romney, who has consistently placed at the top of GOP voters preference polls and who was an unsuccessful presidential candidate in 2008, said he intends to make improving the economy the centerpiece of his campaign against President Barack Obama. Barack Obama has failed America," he told supporters in New Hampshire, the site of the first primary of the 2012 campaign.
The following remarks by Romney were prepared for delivery Thursday:
Thank you for coming. And I want to thank Doug and Stella Scamman for hosting us on their beautiful farm.
You know, everyone here today can tell a different story. We have different backgrounds and we wake up in the morning and go to different jobs … or, look for different jobs. We go to different churches or maybe don't go to church so much. I bet some of you have families who go back 200 years or more in New Hampshire. And there must be some who just snuck in across the border, from Massachusetts. I hear the taxes are better over here.
But here we are on a beautiful June day coming together to begin a process that we often, quite naturally, take for granted. But it is really one of the great achievements in the history of the world. For all of our country's wealth and influence, those are not the source of our greatness. The true strength of America is self-rule, and a government that answers to a free and independent people.
We live in the most powerful nation that ever existed. And it all goes back to a few men and women who had the courage to stand - and even die - for their belief in liberty and equality. Because of their vision, the United States of America is not ruled by a monarchy or controlled by an aristocracy. Though sometimes folks in Washington might act otherwise, we don't have a House of Lords with inherited power. And as the Red Sox like to remind the New York Yankees, there are no dynasties in America.
Who rules this great nation?
You do. Every four years you decide who will give that State of the Union address, who will set the course of the country, who will be Commander in Chief.
What's true right here in this New Hampshire farm has always been true in America. Though each of us is different, though each of us will choose to walk a different path in life, we are united by one great, overwhelming passion: We love America. We believe in America.
Today we are united not only by our faith in America. We are united also by our concern for America.
This country we love is in peril. And that, my friends, is why we are here today.
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.
At the time, we didn't know what sort of a President he would make. It was a moment of crisis for our economy, and when Barack Obama came to office, we wished him well and hoped for the best.
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.
When he took office, the economy was in recession. He made it worse. And he made it last longer.
Three years later, over 16 million Americans are out of work or have just quit looking. Millions more are underemployed.
Three years later, unemployment is still above 8%, a figure he said his stimulus would keep from happening.
Three years later, foreclosures are still at record levels.
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