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Romney joins 2008
presidential race

Romney joins 2008
presidential race

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Mitt Romney, a former one-term Republican governor of Massachusetts, officially entered the 2008 presidential race Tuesday, suggesting that his record of leadership inside and outside government uniquely positions him to tackle the country's challenges.

Mitt Romney, a former one-term Republican governor of Massachusetts, officially entered the 2008 presidential race Tuesday, suggesting that his record of leadership inside and outside government uniquely positions him to tackle the country's challenges. ''I don't believe Washington can be transformed from within by lifetime politicians,'' Romney said in Dearborn, Mich., seeking to turn a potential liability, his limited political experience, into an asset. ''There have been too many deals, too many favors, too many entanglements, and too little real-world experience managing, guiding, leading.'' ''I don't believe Washington can be transformed by someone who has never tried doing such a thing before, in any setting, by someone who has never run a corner store, let alone the largest enterprise in the world,'' he added. The comments were veiled swipes at Romney's top rival for the GOP nomination, four-term senator John McCain of Arizona. With only four years of elective office behind him, Romney is not nearly as well-known nationally as McCain and former two-term New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, political celebrities who consistently lead popularity polls. A serious contender even though he is little more than a blip in such surveys, Romney is seeking to convince Republican primary voters that his record of success in the private, public, and voluntary sectors proves he has the know-how to lead a country at a crossroads. The public, he said, has lost faith in government. ''It is time for innovation and transformation in Washington,'' Romney said. ''It is what our country needs. It is what our people deserve.'' And, he said, he is the candidate who has proved he can deliver. ''Talk is easy; talk is cheap. It is the doing that's hard. And it is only in doing that hopes and dreams can come to life,'' Romney added. A successful venture capitalist who amassed a fortune and the savior of the scandal-plagued 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Romney hopes the party's conservative wing will focus on his deft managerial skills and set aside any uneasiness it may have about his credentials on issues it holds dear and his faith. If elected, Romney will be the nation's first Mormon president. In what amounts to a made-for-TV coming-out tour, Romney announced his candidacy in Michigan, the place of his birth and upbringing as well as an important stop on the path to the GOP nomination. He then heads to other states that hold early primaries and caucuses--Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina--before returning to Boston for a major fund-raiser. The three-day swing is intended to introduce the strikingly handsome candidate to the nation. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney was credited with closing a $3 billion budget deficit without raising taxes and pushing a comprehensive overhaul of the state health insurance system. He tried to enter politics in 1994 with a failed bid to unseat Democratic senator Edward M. Kennedy. It wasn't until 2002 that he tried again, running as he did in his first race as a moderate in one of the most liberal states in the country. Now he's having to answer for his statements and positions back then as he tries to campaign as the more conservative candidate to McCain and Giuliani. During the Senate race, he wrote a letter promising a gay Republican group he would be a stronger advocate for gays and their rights than Kennedy. Nevertheless, he insists he has been an unflinching opponent of same-sex marriage. Also, in the two previous campaigns, he said that regardless of personal beliefs, abortion should be safe and legal. Now he describes himself as pro-life and argues that Roe v. Wade should be replaced with state abortion regulations. (Liz Sidoti, AP)

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