News / USA

Mitt Romney Kicks Off Campaign By Attacking Obama

Mitt Romney speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition annual leadership meeting, in Las Vegas (File Photo - April 2, 2011)
Mitt Romney speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition annual leadership meeting, in Las Vegas (File Photo - April 2, 2011)

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said Thursday that he will seek the Republican nomination for U.S. president. The multimillionare businessman kicked off his campaign in New Hampshire with a scathing attack on President Barack Obama. The Republican candidate wants to show his party that he's their best chance to defeat the incumbent.

"I'm Mitt Romney. I believe in America. And I'm running for  president," he said.

Mitt Romney kicked off his campaign a farm in New Hampshire, a state that holds one of the early Republican primaries.

In his speech, the Republican favorite blasted the record of the incumbent Democratic U.S. president.

"Barack Obama has failed America," said Romney.

Analysts say Romney needs to convince the Republican base that he is best suited to defeat Mr. Obama, who comes out in polls ahead any of the declared or rumored Republican candidates.

Romney attacked Mr. Obama's foreign policy. He said the president has hesitated in supporting dissidents in Iran and democratic protesters in the Arab world. And he said Mr. Obama was acting like a European leader in blaming Israel for its conflict with the Palestinians.

But mostly Romney focused on the  president's handling of the U.S. economy - blaming him for high unemployment and federal spending.

"When he took office, the economy was in recession," he said. "He made it worse. And he made it last longer."

This is the second time Romney runs for president and he has shown himself adept as a fundraiser.

But in 2008, when he lost the nomination to Arizona Senator John McCain, he faced several electoral liabilities.

One was his struggle to distance himself from stances he took on abortion, same-sex marriage and health care while was governor of the liberal state of Massachusetts.

Another was his Mormon faith. Although the religion was founded in America, many conservative Evangelical voters view Mormonism with distrust because of theological differences.

Dean Debnam of Public Policy Polling in Raleigh, North Carolina, says these issues could resurface depending on who challenges Romney for the nomination.

"But if there isn't someone that becomes viable then the Republicans are by and large going to be loyal and pulling behind him and they're going to ignore things that they would have had quote moral difficulties for," said Debnam.

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin was also in New Hampshire on Thursday on a much publicized bus tour.

Other Republican candidates include former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, current Texas Representative Ron Paul and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

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