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Analyzing Mitt Romney's Announcement Speech

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) made it official this morning in Dearborn, Mich.: He's running for president.

The Fix has read (and re-read) Romney's announcement speech. Here's what you need to know:

1) Mitt Romney is an innovator: He uses the word "innovation" ten times in his speech. Romney said he chose the Henry Ford museum to announce his campaign because "it is about innovation, innovation that transformed an industry, and in doing so, gave Americans a way of life our grandparents could never have imagined."

Romney will try to define himself as a forward-looking change agent in this contest, drawing on his experiences in the private and public sectors to make that case. "Throughout my life I have pursued innovation and transformation," he said. "It has taught me the vital lessons that come only from experience....not just talking about it."

2) Mitt Romney is a conservative: Not surprisingly, Romney made clear that he believes strongly in core conservative principles. In a litany of "I believe" statements, Romney expressed his support for "the sanctity of human life," "that people and their elected representatives should make our laws not unelected judges" and that "the family is the foundation of America -- and that we must fight to protect and strengthen it."

As Alan Cooperman and I wrote in today's Post, Romney has been extremely aggressive in courting the social conservative wing of the party that doesn't have an obvious candidate to support in 2008. That effort has met with generally positive results, although Romney has yet to satisfactorily explain to some conservatives why he voiced support for abortion rights and gay rights in past campaigns.

3) Mitt Romney supports the Iraq surge: Although public opinion polling shows that a majority of voters have soured on the war in Iraq, Romney offered his support for the Bush administration's plan to send in more troops. "I believe that so long as there is a reasonable prospect of success, our wisest course is to seek stability in Iraq, with additional troops endeavoring to secure the civilian population," he said.

Romney's calculation is that even though the war is unpopular with the broader American public, Republican primary voters remain convinced that it is a battle worth fighting and that the United States must do anything it can to win. (Sen. John McCain and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani have also backed the Bush administration's plans.)

4) Mitt Romney is not "of" Washington: Romney worked to draw a not-so-subtle contrast between himself and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) during the speech. "I do not believe Washington can be transformed from within by a lifelong politician," he said. "There have been too many deals, too many favors, too many entanglements ... and too little real world experience managing, guiding and leading."

One of McCain's biggest strengths as a candidate is the idea that while he has spent the last 21 years in Washington, he is not a creature of the capital city. Romney will argue he, not McCain, is the real reformer in the race -- making the case that McCain's time in Washington has been part of the problem, not part of the solution. Romney's argument will be complicated by the fact that he has been assiduously courting support from the Washington establishment for months and will hold a fundraiser on Feb. 27 hosted by a who's who of Washington Republican insiders.

5) Mitt Romney is a Christian: Romney made no reference to his Mormon faith, which some observers believe could be a major hurdle to overcome, at least among evangelical voters. His lone mention of religion? "I believe in God and I believe that every person in this great country, and every person on this grand planet, is a child of God."

Got to the next page to watch a video excerpt of Romney's announcement speech:

Video: Associated Press

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 13, 2007; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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