The 2012 Republican presidential nominee front-runner, Willard Mitt Romney kicked off his campaign today with a day-long fundraiser in Las Vegas. The day-long event features a large phone bank staffed by around 700 Romney supporters. Via a conference call, Romney informed supporters, “We’re activating our campaign today.” He will announce how much money was raised later today.
With former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee declaring his intention not to pursue the Republican nomination, and Donald Trump bowing out today, Romney is the clear-cut front-runner for the 2012 Republican nomination. The former Massachusetts governor is joined by former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Texas congressman Ron Paul, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, and former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain as candidates for the 2012 Republican nomination. Other potential candidates include Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, former U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachman, and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Only Palin’s name carries more star-power.
Today, hordes of Romney supporters descended on Sin City in the hopes of establishing the campaign’s credibility and seriousness. While Romney has basically been campaigning for the 2012 election ever since Barack Obama took office, he officially kicked off his campaign by touting his credentials to fix the American economy. Romney pointed to his experience at Bain Capital turning around companies, his role managing the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, and his experience as Massachusetts governor.
During the conference call, Romney addressed the most pressing issue his campaign will likely face: healthcare reform. Romney has faced harsh criticism for the similarities between his Massachusetts healthcare reform plan and Obama’s 2010 plan, one largely opposed by Republicans. The 2008 campaign showed that Romney doesn’t play the political game as well as some of his counterparts, as he was quickly labeled a ‘flip-flopper,’ a moniker that stuck with him through the campaign. Romney needs to acknowledge some of the obvious similarities between “Romneycare” and “Obamacare,” and stress the good his healthcare reform did for Massachusetts while noting the deficiencies in the Obama plan. As he did last week and today, he needs to tout the principles of federalism and stress that each state has different needs in terms of healthcare, and should be able to legislate accordingly. If Romney can successfully navigate these treacherous waters, he will be able to attack the President on the economy. He can point to the 8% unemployment rate in each of Obama’s years as president, and he can contrast his view on giving states more power and label Obama in favor of big government, and point to his nearly infallible economic credentials. If Romney can effectively navigate the healthcare minefield, then, and only then, can people look back to today as the start of something special.
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