Mitt Romney’s Road To 2012 Begins, But It’s Already Crowded


Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and the Granite State. Is New Hampshire big enough for the both of them?

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, plans to officially open his second White House bid at noon today at Bittersweet Farm in Stratham, NH, declaring that “Barack Obama has failed America.”

“Government under President Obama has grown to consume almost 40 percent of our economy. We are only inches away from ceasing to be a free market economy,” Romney plans to say, according to excerpts of his remarks prepared for delivery. “I will insist that Washington learns to respect the Constitution, including the 10th amendment. We will return responsibility and authority to the states for dozens of government programs -- and that begins with a complete repeal of Obamacare. From my first day in office my number one job will be to see that America once again is number one in job creation.”

Still, despite his best efforts, Romney won’t be able to escape questions about his rationale for repealing “Obamacare” after having passed “Romneycare” several years earlier in Massachusetts. ABC’s John Berman will sit down with Romney today in New Hampshire to talk to the newly-minted candidate about his 2012 strategy.

By all objective measures, he’s the frontrunner. He'll have the most money -- recall his $10 million-plus take at a Las Vegas dialing-for-dollars event last month as well as his aggressive courting of well-heeled donors across the country.

He's on top in national polls, he's way ahead in New Hampshire, and yet most of the punditocracy has already decided that former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the guy who barely registers in the polls and has not yet proven his fundraiser mettle, may have an even better shot at winning the nomination this time around.

This may actually be a good thing for Romney. Pawlenty has yet to endure the sort of probing that comes with being in the front of the pack. Maybe he does well. Maybe he doesn't. But, it does level the playing field. Instead of Mitt Romney running against himself and his record, he will now be able to compare and contrast himself with someone else.

And speaking of contrast, Romney won’t have New Hampshire all to himself today. The state’s Union-Leader newspaper reported that Sarah Palin has decided to hold a clambake tonight in the Seacoast area of the state. It’s just another stop on her “One Nation” bus tour of the East Coast. Palin, who has been swarmed with attention throughout her excursion this week may just be hoping to steal some of the spotlight from Romney -- and she will.

Also in the Granite State: former Romney rival, Rudy Giuliani, who is said to be seriously considering another try for the Republican nomination this year. Giuliani is making several stops around the state, and will headline a New Hampshire GOP fundraiser tonight.

LOOK AHEAD: JOBS NUMBERS. Former George W. Bush White House and John McCain campaign veteran Matt McDonald, now a partner at the Washington, DC-based consulting firm, Hamilton Place Strategies, has crunched the numbers and they don’t look great for President Obama ahead of tomorrow’s jobs report. He writes that last month’s mixed jobs numbers seem “to have foreshadowed the weak numbers that we have seen over the past several weeks, with jobless claims back above 400,000 per week, continued decline in housing, slowing growth in manufacturing, and most notably anemic GDP growth of just 1.8 percent during the first quarter. … The bad news looks set to continue with this week’s job report. [The] consensus for Friday’s job report, according to a Bloomberg survey, is an increase of 175,000 jobs.
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