The video: Mitt Romney took to YouTube on Monday to announce that he's formed a presidential exploratory committee, the first formal step to seeking the Republican nomination in 2012. Standing in front of an empty University of New Hampshire football field, Romney touts his job-creating experience in the private sector, and criticizes President Obama's economic policies as naive. (See the video below.) Only one other major GOP candidate has stepped this far into the race — former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty — but, so far, Romney remains first in most national GOP polls.
The reaction: Romney "starts the primary as a, if not the, frontrunner," says Adam Sorensen in TIME. But that doesn't mean it will be an easy path to the nomination. He has to raise lots of money to outlast a crowded GOP field, convince voters he has principles that don't shift with the political wind, and figure out how to deal with his legacy of "RomneyCare" in Massachusetts. On the other hand, he has "a top-flight political organization, a robust network, and a recognizable public persona." And yet, he made his "exciting announcement in one of the most boring videos I've ever seen," says Jonathan Capehart in The Washington Post. "If the nomination were won on announcements alone," so far Pawlenty "would win hands down." Judge for yourself: