Mitt Romney will formally announce he's running for president Thursday at a chili barbecue at Bittersweet Farm in Stratham, New Hampshire, where he'll declare that three years ago Americans "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," according to prepared remarks. But that didn't work out so well, Romney will say, because "Barack Obama has failed America." Romney will make the focus of his campaign the economy, arguing that he's the guy with the private sector experience to fix it. The former Massachusetts governor will present himself as "a serious man for serious times," Politico's Mike Allen reports.
Romney, who signed into law a health care overhaul that was the basis for President Obama's, will again promise to "completely repeal Obamacare." He'll halve federal spending, he says, because "We are only inches away from ceasing to be a free market economy."
Romney's "serious man" pitch will present a strong contrast with some of the other Republican candidates for 2012. "All of this background noise from Sarah Palin and Donald Trump and the talk about Chris Christie and Rick Perry just benefits Mitt Romney," New Hampshire Republican strategist Mike Dennehy told Politico's Jonathan Martin. "He just keeps his head down as all the attention goes to the sideshow." But that means Romney faces higher expectations, Martin writes, especially in New Hampshire, a "must-win" for the candidate.