Mitt Romney will formally enter the Republican presidential race today with a speech that sternly rebukes President Obama for his handling of the economy and presents the former Massachusetts governor’s resume as best suited for these trying economic times.
“Barack Obama has failed America,” Romney will say, according to excerpts of the address obtained by The Fix. “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 will also repeat his call to repeal Obama’s health care law and make a pledge to “return responsibility and authority to the states for dozens of government programs”.
It’s not clear whether Romney will address the health care plan he signed as governor of Massachusetts, a major sore spot for some Republicans.
Romney will deliver the speech at 12:30 p.m. in Stratham, N.H. — an indication of the importance of the Granite State to his chances at the Republican nomination. (You can watch a live stream of the speech here.)
Romney enters the GOP presidential race as its nominal frontrunner — leading in most polls conducted on the race and expected to be, by far, the strongest fundraiser in the field. He raised more than $10 million in a single day last month.
What remains to be seen is whether Romney can shake the allegations of flip-floppery that dogged him during his 2008 campaign, in which he raised and spent more than $100 million but was unable to beat out Arizona Sen. John McCain for the party’s nomination.
The Democratic National Committee is doing everything it can to remind voters (and reporters) of Romney’s past statements, releasing a web video this morning that ends with the tagline: “Same Candidate. Different Positions. Again.”
The other question surrounding Romney’s campaign is how badly health care will hamstring his attempts to reach out to conservative voters in places like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.
In a speech last month in Michigan, Romney largely defended the law he signed in Massachusetts as the right fit for the state and insisted it was never meant as a model for a national plan. He has pointedly refused to apologize for the law, arguing that it wouldn’t be “honest” to do so.
Romney has largely avoided engaging his critics to date and will almost certainly continue to do that in his announcement speech today, choosing instead to zero in on the economy.
“My generation will pass the torch to the next generation, not a bill,” Romney is expected to promise. Look for much more of that sort of economic-themed talk from Romney over the coming weeks and months of campaign 2012.
Fundraising begins in earnest: It’s fundraising season again, as both the Republican presidential primary and Obama’s reelection campaign start pumping donors for big bucks.
The AP reported late Wednesday that Obama’s team is asking its fundraisers to pull in $60 million by the end of June for Obama’s campaign and for the Democratic Party — though much of it is already raised.
Romney, meanwhile, has a very busy schedule of fundraisers in June.
June is a very significant month for fundraising, as it’s the last month of the second quarter financial reports. Romney and Obama’s team both want to serve notice that they are forces to be reckoned with, and their finances in the second quarter will be one of the first key indicators of that.
Signs of Gregoire’s plans in Washington state?: Former state representative Laura Ruderman (D) has announced a campaign for Rep. Jay Inslee’s (D) seat in what could be taken as a sign that Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) won’t run for reelection.
Gregoire is currently weighing whether to run for a third term in the governor’s mansion; if she doesn’t, Inslee is the favorite to run in her stead.
The fact that candidates are starting to run for Inslee’s seat suggests they think there will be a seat to run for. Ruderman said in her announcement that she will not challenge the congressman if he for some reason runs for reelection, but that she thinks her name will be on the ballot.
Reputable candidates rarely get into races where there is still a incumbent, unless they know that incumbent has plans to do something else.
Scattered polling has shown Gregoire isn’t in great position to seek reelection. On the GOP side, state Attorney General Rob McKenna is the most likely contender, though Rep. Dave Reichert has shown interest as well.
- Freshman Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.) declined to join his Republican colleagues during their meeting with Obama on Wednesday. The tea party favorite saw his district decimated by redistricting and would likely have to run against a fellow Republicans incumbent if he wants to return to Congress, so he may be seeking the ultra-conservative ground here.
- The Department of Health and Human Services says Indiana’s plan to ban Medicaid funds from being used at Planned Parenthood is illegal.
- Mike Huckabee isn’t ruling out being someone’s vice presidential candidate.
- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday that the GOP’s Medicare reforms only played a “small role” in the party’s special election loss last week.
- The roster so far for the June 13 CNN debate in New Hampshire: former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and businessman Herman Cain. Rep. Michele Bachmann is expected to join them, and Romney hasn’t decided whether he will be a part of it.
- In their closed-door meeting Wednesday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) accused Obama of “demagoguery” over Medicare.
- Alabama is close to passing a redistricting plan, but there’s still plenty of hand-wringing over a decision to split Montgomery County between three districts.
- “Palin’s bus tour filled with short glimpses of history” — Amy Gardner, The Washington Post
- “Running the numbers on the debt ceiling vote” — Nate Silver, New York Times
- “Why going rogue won’t work” — Joshua Green, The Atlantic