Romney Forms Exploratory Committee for GOP Presidential Bid

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 11, 2011   |   4:24PM   |   Washington, DC

Former Massachusetts governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took the first step today towards a second run for the presidency by announcing he is forming an exploratory committee.

Romney follows pro-life businessman Herman Cain and pro-life former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty in announcing an exploratory committee. Like Pawlenty, he took advantage of using new media to reach voters by releasing a video on his web site to make his announcement rather than holding a traditional speech-giving event.

“It is time that we put America back on a course of greatness, with a growing economy, good jobs and fiscal discipline in Washington,” Romney said in the video, recorded in New Hampshire, the second primary election battleground.

“From my vantage point in business and in government, I’ve become convinced that America has been put on a dangerous course by Washington politicians, and it’s become even worse during the last two years,” Romney said in the web video. “But I’m also convinced that, with able leadership, America’s best days are still ahead.”

“That’s why today, I am announcing my exploratory committee for the presidency of the United States,” Romney said. “President Obama’s policies have failed.”

In 2008, Romney did well in a handful of early caucus states in the western United States, where his Mormon views yielded him the support of Republican voters in places like Nevada and Wyoming, and he won the state of Michigan, where his father previously served as governor. But he failed to win in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina and ultimately withdrew from consideration when it became clear John McCain had enough delegate votes to become the nominee.

Romney campaigned in 2008 as a pro-life candidate after seeking the governorship of Massachusetts as an abortion advocate. While some pro-life voters welcomed his conversion before the 2008 campaign, others questioned his sincerity and whether he was merely trying to win over the majority of Republican voters who take a pro-life position.

Romney also instituted a government-run health care plan in Massachusetts with some similar elements to the Obamacare plan Congress approved and President Barack Obama signed that has sparked massive opposition from the pro-life community. Romney’s health care plan was criticized for paying for most of the cost of an abortion, although Romney officials maintain a state Supreme Court decision forced that to be included.

Ironically, Romney’s announcement of his exploratory committee comes on the fifth anniversary of the Romney health care plan becoming law.

Last week, pro-abortion President Barack Obama announced his campaign for re-election.

For pro-life advocates, overturning the Roe v. Wade abortion decision so abortion can again be prohibited has always been a hallmark of a true pro-life stance. During a January 2008 campaign stop in Nevada, Romney said he lined up with the pro-life movement against Roe.

“I am pro-life, and I would welcome a time when the people of America concluded that abortion was wrong, but that’s not where America is, and that’s why I believe that the next right step for America is for the court to overturn Roe v. Wade,” he said. “That would return to the states and to the elected representatives of the people the ability to set their own laws related to abortion.”

He also said during the 2008 presidential campaign that he supports a federal human life amendment as a second goal after first toppling Roe and letting states ban abortions again.

Romney, in 2008, received the endorsement of James Bopp, a nationally-respected pro-life attorney, who said the issue of embryonic stem cell research prompted Romney’s conversion to the pro-life side.

Saying that former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush were converts to the pro-life cause as well, Bopp told that the pro-life community “needs to be open to those who have a sincere conversion to the pro-life cause.”

“When he was Governor and scientists were attempting to persuade him to support government funding of embryonic stem cell research, they said that there was no moral issue, because they destroy the embryos after 14 days,” Bopp explained. “This hit him hard, how Roe v. Wade had cheapened life, and he publicly announced that he wanted to be considered pro-life.”

He said a specific life-changing experience like Romney’s is “persuasive.”

Bopp also indicated that Romney’s subsequent actions have affirmed his newfound pro-life stance.

“He vetoed the bill on embryonic stem cell research and some other efforts to liberalize the Massachusetts abortion law,” Bopp said.

Ultimately, Bopp told that a frank discussion of pro-life issues persuaded him.

“I have meet with him personally, discussed these issues with him and am satisfied that his pro-life position is sincere,” he concluded.