Former Massachusetts governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be getting the Republican presidential nomination another go when he announces next week he will become an official candidate.
Romney will formally announce his campaign at a rally in New Hampshire — the site of the second presidential battleground after Iowa and the location of the first-in-the-nation primary. New Hampshire is a state Romney must win if he wants to become the nominee, political experts say, and his decision to announce there makes political observers think he is discounting the campaign in Iowa to some extent.
Romney finished second in Iowa and lost the New Hampshire primary to eventual nominee John McCain last time around and he will have to win one of the two to make Republican voters feel as if he has a shot to win the nomination. Most polls show Romney at or near the top when Republican voters nationally or in top primary states are surveyed, but the general consensus is that they merely reflect name identification right now and that some of the candidates who did not run last time — such as Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, or Jon Huntsman — may break into the top tier once they have time to establish themselves with voters.
The formal announcement will be the second time Romney has gone to New Hampshire to make an important decision in his campaign. The first came when he filmed a video at Cowell Stadium on the campus of the University of New Hampshire to tell voters he was establishing an exploratory committee to gauge a run for the Republican nomination.
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. Romney has been running for the nomination almost since he dropped out of the Republican primary last year. He formed the Free and Strong America PAC to support Republican candidates across the country and has kept his name in the limelight with prominent speeches and political appearances.
In an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper, a Romney aide said the former governor would call for limited government, cutting the debt, and a need for stronger international affairs policy in his speech next week.
“He has the experience to create jobs and grow the economy, and he is the strongest Republican to defeat President Obama in 2012,” the aide said.
Romney will announce at the Scammans farm that has hosted President George W. Bush, Vice President Dan Quayle and top New Hampshire political officials.
But Romney 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.
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.
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 LifeNews.com 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 LifeNews.com 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.