Mitt Romney Jumps Into 2012 Presidential Contest

BY David Chalian  April 11, 2011 at 4:30 PM EST

The perceived front-runner for the Republican nomination for president in 2012 officially threw his hat into the ring Monday afternoon.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 64, opened a campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission and announced his intention to explore seeking the presidency. In reality, Romney has been exploring little else since his last run for the White House ended in defeat in February 2008 and Monday’s actions will allow him to begin raising money, moving around the country and building a staff worthy of a top-tier presidential campaign.

“From my vantage point in business and in government, I’ve become convinced that America has been put on a dangerous course by Washington politicians and has become even worse during the last two years. But I’m also convinced that with able leadership, America’s best days are still ahead,” Romney said in a YouTube video posted on his new campaign website.

Romney’s two-and-a-half minute video was shot Monday morning on the campus of the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H. New Hampshire is home to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary following the Iowa caucuses.

The entire video remained nearly singularly focused on the economy and jobs which signals a departure from the themes that dominated his failed run for the White House in 2008 as he attempted to assuage social conservatives that he was aligned with them on abortion, gay rights and immigration.

“It’s time that we put America back on a course of greatness with a growing economy, good jobs, and fiscal discipline in Washington,” Romney said before asking viewers to support his bid and share his announcement video with friends and family.

The announcement may go down as one of the most low-key affairs in modern presidential campaign history. It simply includes Romney talking straight to a camera and was quickly edited and released just a few hours after being shot.

Unlike President Obama’s re-election campaign roll-out last week with a sleek video including testimonials of supporters from battleground states or the Hollywood-style movie trailer that was the hallmark of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s, R-Minn., announcement video, Romney appears in a low-key, casual (read: tie-less) manner, giving his rationale for taking on President Obama.

Tuesday marks the fifth anniversary of Romney’s signing the Massachusetts health care reform bill into law. That bill served as a model for President Obama’s health care reform law and serves as a potential Achilles’ heel for Romney’s quest for the Republican nomination largely due to its inclusion of an individual mandate to achieve universal coverage.