STRATHAM, N.H., June 3, 2011— -- Mitt Romney, flanked by hay bales and a larger-than-life American flag on a Stratham farm, announced today that he's running for president, declaring that President Obama has "had his chance.
"We the people on this farm and citizens across this country are the people who are just getting started," said Romney.
"Today we are united not only by our faith in America. We are united also by our concern for America," said Romney. "This country we love is in peril. And that, my friends, is why we are here today."
Romney spent much of his speech criticizing the Obama's handling of the struggling economy.
"Barack Obama has failed America," said Romney. "When he took office, the economy was in recession. He made it worse. And he made it last longer.
"From my first day in office, my No. 1 job will be to see that America once again is No. 1 in job creation," Romney vowed. "You know, if you want to create jobs, it helps to have had a job."
In a one-on-one sit down interview earlier today with ABC News, Romney went into further detail about his policy plans and the first things he would do if he is elected president in 2012.
Romney said if he is "lucky enough" to get elected, he will work to return America to being the "No. 1 place for creating jobs."
"I know how to do that. It's what I've spent my life doing. And that's what I want to bring to the White House," he said.
Asked if he would sign the plan written by Rep. Paul Ryan that would restructure Medicare if it reached his desk as president, Romney said yes. But he quickly added that it is not his own plan, and that he would be offering a different plan. When pressed on details, Romney said, "Well, mine has more choice, and I'll leave it at that. It's something we're working out."
His announcement came just hours before the arrival of Sarah Palin's bus tour in New Hampshire. Romney said he believed the timing was just a coincidence, and that Palin was not trying to step on his toes. "She's on a nationwide tour, if you will, a rally behind a very legitimate concern," Romney said. "The government is too big on spending too much. The president has failed. That's a message that all of the Republicans who are looking at this presidential race will be taking forward."
He also said that he didn't believe that Palin owed it to voters to make a decision about running anytime soon.
"I don't think anyone owes anyone other than themselves and their family a decision. That's something which they can make anytime its right for them."
This time around the Romney campaign will do things differently, more streamlined, more low-key. The new simple blue-and-white campaign T-shirts are $5 cheaper than the old multi-color version.
Four years ago, Romney's five photogenic sons were a constant presence on the campaign trail. For today's kick-off announcement, only sons Tagg and Josh were present. This is on purpose, according to Romney. "Things are little leaner in America, and the campaign has to be a little wiser and leaner," he told ABC News, "and so we are running the campaign with fewer people. We won't be doing all the fancy stuff we did last time around."
It's also a different looking Mitt Romney. The former business mogul has shed his business suit, and is hardly ever seen with a tie, although he swears he still owns one. "My favorite item of apparel for a man is to be able to have a nice necktie. It's the only thing with color and interest that I have. But you know, I don't wear neckties all the time."