STRATHAM, New Hampshire, June 3, 2011 ( – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has officially declared his candidacy for U.S. president, saying that President Barack Obama “has failed America.”

In remarks given yesterday at a farm in New Hampshire, Romney stated that Americans “didn’t know what sort of a president [Obama] would make,” but nevertheless were willing to give him a try.

“Now, in the third year of his four-year term, we have more than promises and slogans to go by,” said Romney. “Barack Obama has failed America.”

While Romney claims the pro-life label and has criticized Obama’s unpopular heath care reform legislation, an issue that is likely to take front and center during the 2012 election, he has faced criticism and suspicion in some conservative quarters for years over the level of his commitment to social and fiscal conservative values.

Many of Romney’s critics have argued that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the national health care reform law, is clearly based on the state-run health care reform Romney signed into law as governor of Massachusetts. The Massachussetts health care plan, called Commonwealth Care, allocated tax dollars for “family planning” services and subsidized abortions for poor women, provisions that Romney failed to veto in 2006, even though he vetoed other portions of the bill.

Romney also famously said in 2007 that Congress should not have tried to step in and save the life of Terri Schiavo. “I think the decision of Congress to get involved was a mistake,” he said in response to a question during an MSNBC debate with other Republican presidential hopefuls, although he quickly added, “I think the Congress’s job is to make sure that laws are respecting the sanctity of life.”

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

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.  While Romney was urged by pro-family advocates to ignore the court ruling as clearly unconstitutional, he instead took the initiative to enforce it as law, a decision for which he was roundly criticized.

In announcing his candidacy Romney avoided social issues, focusing instead on fixing the United States’ economic woes, and the glut of federal spending in Washington, D.C. He pledged to make the U.S. the number one nation in job creation as president, and that his generation “will pass the torch to the next generation, not a bill” – alluding to the nation’s burgeoning $14.3 trillion debt.


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