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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has finally taken the first step toward a presidential run by forming an exploratory committee.

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The former CEO and governor and self-declared pro-life supporter made the announcement through a modest two-and-a-half minute Youtube video, “Believe in America,” along with Twitter and Facebook postings.

Romney is the second GOP candidate to reveal his presidential aspirations via social networking sites on the internet. Several weeks ago, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty announced his own presidential exploratory committee on Facebook.

Romney has faced criticism and suspicion in some conservative quarters for years over his commitment to social and fiscal conservative values.

On abortion, he has said he was previously “pro-choice” but experienced a conversion and is now “firmly pro-life.” Romney said he had an epiphany while researching cloning and embryonic stem-cell research in November 2004, where he realized that over 30 years of Roe v. Wade had cheapened the sanctity of life in the United States. However, the recency of Romney’s conversion had provided little public opportunity for the depth of his conviction on the issue to be tested or proved in the form of concrete action.

The governor has also faced criticism for his handling of the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s 2003 Goodridge v. Department of Public Health decision in Massachusetts, which imposed same-sex “marriage” on the state. 

In today’s announcement, Romney focused largely on the nation’s economic woes and job losses, pledging to use his expertise in business and management to help 20 million unemployed get back to work. He made no mention of social issues, such as abortion, in the announcement.

“It is time that we put America back on a course of greatness, with a growing economy, good jobs and fiscal discipline in Washington,” said Romney.

He added that with the right kind of leadership, he believes “America’s best days are ahead.”

The Associated Press, however, noted that Romney’s announcement is just “one day shy” of the fifth anniversary of his signing into law a state-run health insurance reform that mandated every citizen purchase health insurance or pay a fine. The law signed by Romney appears to be the inspiration for the “individual mandate” to carry insurance in the federal health care reform, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Romney has stated that he believed the reforms of “CommonwealthCare” were a fit for Massachusetts, and never intended as a national model. Still, he has defended the individual mandate even as recently as early April at a meeting with conservatives in Las Vegas against his critics who have derided the state’s program as “RomneyCare.”

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