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Mitt Romney Takes Key Step Toward Presidential Run

Mitt Romney drew one step closer Monday toward the full-bore announcement that he's again running for the Republican presidential nomination by announcing he has formed an exploratory committee.

On Twitter Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, said:

"I am announcing my Exploratory Committee for President of the United States."

The Twitter announcement pointed people to a YouTube video of Romney in what appears to be a football stadium on the Durham, NH campus of the University of New Hampshire.

Romney tells the viewer some of what he has experienced in his travels — New Hamphire college students expressing their anxieties about finding jobs upon graduation or walking through a Nevada neighborhood with vacant houses and foreclosures.

Then Romney says:

"How has this happened in the nation that leads the world in innovation and productivity? The answer is that President Obama's policies have failed. He and virtually all the people around him have never worked in the real economy. They just don't know how jobs are created in the private sector. That's where I spent my entire career.

As he did in in 2008, Romney is arguing that what the nation needs is a proven businessman to help it reach its full potential.

"In 1985, I helped found a company. First we had 10 employees. Today there are hundreds. My work led me to become deeply involved in other businesses, from innovative startups to large companies that were going through tough times. Sometimes, I was successful and helped create jobs. Other times I wasn't. I learned how America competes with companies in other countries. Why jobs leave and how jobs are created here at home.

"Later when I served as governor of Massachusetts, I used the skills I learned in 25 years in business to streamline state government, to balance the budget wevery year and restore a $2 billion rainy day fund.

From my vantage point in business and in government, I've become convinced than America has been put on a dangerous course by Washington politicians. And it's 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, who eventually lost his 2008 bid for the GOP presidential nomination to Sen. John McCain of Arizona, has been polling ahead most other potential 2012 Republican candidates.

In an encouraging piece of information for Romney, a recent Mason-Dixon poll found him polling ahead of President Obama in Florida, 48 percent ro 43 percent.

The same poll had former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee leading the president 49 percent to 44 percent. While Huckabee, who like Romney ran in 2008, was thought to be interested in running again, he seems not to be making the moves expected of a likely presidential candidate.

Another state Romney could do well in is Michigan where his father was a popular governor. Polls there are inconclusive, however, with one poll earlier this year giving Romney a lead over Obama and another giving Obama the lead.

The president and other White House officials have already indicated that one strategy they intend to use against Romney is to acknowledge whenever possible that as Massachusetts governor he signed into law that state's health care legislation which, they like to say, was a model for the Affordable Care Act signed by the president.

By doing so, they hope to have the obvious effect of hurting Romney with the party activists, including those in the Tea Party movement, so important to winning the state caucuses and primaries that lead to the nomination.

Romney, on paper, has an impressive resume. Besides his stint as governor and as a businessman, he organized and ran the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

But he has had trouble stirring excitement, coming across as a little too stiff and inauthentic for some voters and news media types.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Frank James joined NPR News in April 2009 to launch the blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Mark Memmott.