Last time around, in 2007, Mitt Romney announced he was running for president from the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. This time, he was in a different state, and his boyhood home of Michigan was clearly not on his mind.
On Thursday, he mentioned that his father, George Romney, rose from a lath-and-plaster job to become the head of American Motors and, eventually, the governor of the state he had worked in -- but Romney gave no indication which state that was.
George Romney was a three-term governor of Michigan and took his own stab at the presidency, in 1968. Mitt Romney, 64, grew up in Bloomfield Hills.
Michigan is clearly not playing a big role in Romney's plans, at least until he clears the New Hampshire primary in February. Without winning there, the former Massachusetts governor is unlikely to capture the nomination and capitalize on his standing -- for the moment -- as the presumptive front-runner.
For his speech Thursday announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination, Romney went to a farm in New Hampshire, a state where he owns a vacation home.
Romney, the former head of a venture capital firm, played up his business credentials and blasted what he called President Barack Obama's "European answers," which the Republican said have exacerbated the nation's economic woes.
"Barack Obama has failed America," Romney said. "When he took office, the economy was in recession, and he made it worse and made it longer."
Unemployment, he noted, is still more than 8%, and foreclosure rates remain high as home prices continue to fall. Obama's policies, Romney said, have created more debt without creating new jobs.
"For millions of Americans, the economy is in crisis today," he said. "Unless we change course, it will be in crisis for all of us tomorrow."
Romney said he would begin by repealing the Democrat's health care reform law enacted last year, capping federal spending at 20% of the gross domestic product and making taxes on businesses more competitive.
He defended the health care legislation he signed into law when he was Massachusetts' governor, which shares some aspects with the federal law -- notably a mandate on all residents to purchase insurance. Romney said he believes it was the right choice for the state, but not one that should be implemented nationwide.
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