. . . and personally speaking I think he has as good of a chance as anybody else to win the whole damn thing.
Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, a former venture capitalist credited with turning around the scandal-hit Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, took the first steps on Wednesday toward a 2008 White House bid.
Romney, 59, said he had filed papers with the Federal Election Commission in Washington to establish a presidential exploratory committee and fund-raising apparatus. A Romney aide said afterward that the paperwork was not due at the FEC until later on Wednesday.
"I have a feeling we are going to be pretty busy," Romney told reporters outside his office in Massachusetts. "We have filed exploratory papers today. So the process is moving forward on that front."
A devout Mormon and former bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Romney — the son of former Michigan Gov. George Romney — has several advantages, political analysts say.
He is a polished communicator with an actor's good looks. He gained national attention for rescuing the 2002 Olympics and earned degrees from both Harvard business and law schools before going on to make millions in business.
But as a one-term governor from a state with a liberal reputation, Romney still has hurdles to overcome among conservative Republicans, who are a major force in the party's nominating process. He has no foreign policy experience and has made conflicting statements on some social issues.
"One of his stiffest obstacles is his continuing support for the war in Iraq. He's been unwavering in his belief that President Bush is following the right path," said Jeffrey Berry, a professor at Tufts University.