Romney Announces a Presidential Exploratory Committee

The former Massachusetts governor joins a crowded GOP field.

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is jumping into the 2012 presidential race. He took the official first steps Monday by announcing a presidential exploratory committee, which means he can officially start raising money. His announcement--made on Twitter--comes at the five-year anniversary of his signing of the Massachusetts state healthcare plan, which analysts say resembles President Obama's healthcare law. Romney made no mention of this in a campaign video he released and instead touted his business experience and his goal to fix the economy. Last month, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced an exploratory committee, and he hired a campaign manager this week. Meanwhile, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann stopped in Iowa, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum won a South Carolina straw poll, signs both conservative Republicans are testing the GOP waters for a White House bid. Still, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows Romney leading the pack with support at 21 percent. Real estate mogul Donald Trump--who has been stealing headlines in recent days with his birther campaign--is tied with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for second place, according to the poll.