Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will announce today that he's making his bid for the Republican presidential nomination official, declaring, "Barack Obama has failed America."
In excerpts of prepared remarks obtained by ABC News, Romney rails against the president's handling of the struggling economy and vows to shrink the size of the government.
"A few years ago, Americans did something that was, actually, very much the sort of thing Americans like to do: We 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," Romney says in his prepared remarks. "Now, in the third year of his four-year term, we have more than promises and slogans to go by."
Today marks Romney's second campaign for the presidency. In 2008, Romney withdrew from the race after being overtaken by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Super Tuesday. McCain got Romney's endorsement and the GOP nomination.
Romney is again being pegged as a GOP frontrunner, much as he was the first time he ran for the White House. According to the latest Gallup poll, released last week, 17 percent of those voters who lean toward the GOP said they would vote for Romney. Fifteen percent of those polled said they would cast their ballots for the former GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
For months there has been speculation that Romney had his eyes on the presidency again as he made stops in key swing states, including visits last month to Michigan, South Carolina and Iowa.
And at a May event in Las Vegas, Romney flexed his fundraising muscles, raking in more than $10 million in day-long call-a-thon. In this month alone, Romney is expected to make more than 30 fundraising stops nationwide, according to the National Journal.
The most contentious issue for Romney has been explaining similarities between the health care policy he signed into law in Massachusetts in 2006 and President Obama's plan, which is widely opposed by members of Romney's party. Romney has stood by his policy – dubbed by critics as "Romneycare," an adaptation of "Obamacare" – and has said that it "wouldn't be honest" to say his policy was a mistake.
Born in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Romney married his high school sweetheart Ann. The couple has five children and 16 grandchildren. After earning an undergraduate degree from Brigham-Young University and then graduate degrees from Harvard Law and Harvard Business Schools, Romney became a successful businessman, founding the private equity firm Bain Capital.
Often criticized in the press for being too buttoned-up or too stiff, Romney has taken to Twitter to connect with supporters, even tweeting a photograph of his family celebrating Memorial Day at the family's lakeside home in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.
And in an interview earlier this week with NBC News, Romney admitted to watching "American Idol" and even reading his granddaughter's favorite vampire books, the "Twilight" series. He also owns an iPad, he said.
A Mormon, Romney does not drink or smoke, but said that while he typically refrains from using obscenities, even he slips up sometimes.
Romney's choice of location for today's announcement has meaning – both former President George H. Bush and President George W. Bush made stops at the Stratham's Bittersweet Farm during their campaigns. Sen. Bob Dole also held a campaign event at the farm.
Tomorrow, Romney will remain in the state – one that he lost in 2008 – to host his first town hall of the campaign in Manchester.