Mitt Romney has now taken the first critical step that distinguishes a mere "hopeful" from a candidate. On April 11th, 2011, Romney announced he is forming an exploratory committee for a 2012 presidential run. He becomes the second Republican to announce an exploratory committee, following Tim Pawlenty who announced earlier. Romney is convinced that America has been put on a dangerous course by Washington politicians and it's become even worse during the past two years, but with able leadership, America's best days are still ahead. He wants to put America back on a course of greatness. He mentioned nothing about health care, which may be smart considering that Romneycare is considered Obamacare Lite. You can read the full written text of his video announcement HERE, or watch the video below, which was shot at the University of New Hampshire:
Interesting reaction on the YouTube channel. Feedback indicates 98 likes and 88 dislikes so far. I don't normally see so many dislikes attendant to this type of video.
No such problem in Utah -- Romney still owns the state. A poll of 247 Utahns conducted by Dan Jones on April 7th indicates an overwhelming lead for Romney:
-- Mitt Romney: 69 percent
-- Jon Huntsman Jr: 14 percent
-- Donald Trump: 5 percent
-- Sarah Palin: 2 percent
-- Mike Huckabee: 1 percent
-- Other: 7 percent
-- Don't Know: 3 percent
Kirk Jowers, head of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics and a longtime Romney supporter, discounted Trump's appeal, characterizing him as a "shiny new toy" who has only raised the so-called "birther" issue so far. Trump should not be taken seriously.
National polls seem to indicate the time is right for Romney. The National Journal places him number one in their presidential rankings. And on April 6th, the Wall Street Journal reported that Romney led a WSJ/NBC national poll.
One of Mitt Romney's weak spots is the South. Romney is considered a bit too formal; many Southerners prefer their candidates to display a less formal style. In addition, Evangelicals are strong in the South, and some still have misgivings about a Mormon in the White House, although anti-Mormon sentiment is fading. If Romney wants to pursue a strategy of uniting the South and West and New England to get the nomination and take down Obama, he'll have to consider a running mate who plays well in the South. Among the best choices: Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Haley Barbour. Of those three, Palin seems like the best choice; she has the most committed and passionate supporters.
Unofficial reaction from the Palin camp: Conservatives4Palin has just weighed in with a somewhat catty response. They write "Romney, like Tim Pawlenty, made the announcement online via a Youtube clip. Unlike Pawlenty however, Romney’s announcement was boring, dry, and seemingly insincere. We won’t be linking directly to it". The latter is nothing more than a cheap Shannyn Moore tactic; progressives play that silly game of "not linking to something" in order to promote a false patina of respectability. Gimme a break, C4P; try acting like adults.