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Romney drops social conservative rhetoric, adopts Tea Party's

AP

Mitt Romney (R) officially announced his 2012 White House bid from Bittersweet Farm in Stratham, N.H.

The thrust of Mitt Romney's presidential announcement speech in New Hampshire today was jobs and the economy, as well as a full-throated denunciation of Obama's presidency.

"Barack Obama has failed America," the Republican former Massachusetts governor said.

But Romney also picked up Tea Party rhetoric. Examples:

"Instead of recognizing the states’ rightful authority to solve problems, [Obama] seizes power from them and rams through a disastrous national health care plan. This president's first answer to every problem is to take power from you."

"We are only inches away from ceasing to be a free-market economy."

"I will insist that Washington learns to respect the Constitution, including the 10th Amendment. We will return responsibility and authority to the states for dozens of government programs."

"We will return responsibility and authority to the states for dozens of government programs -- and that begins with a complete repeal of Obamacare."

Those comments are in stark contrast to when Romney announced another presidential bid – in Michigan in 2007 – when he emphasized his social-conservative credentials.

"I believe in God, and I believe that every person in this great country ... is a child of God."

"I believe the family is the foundation of America."

"I believe in the sanctity of human life."

"I believe that people and their elected representatives should make our laws, not unelected judges."

The shift is perhaps a recognition of what could be his biggest stumbling block in his race for the GOP presidential nomination: a lack of conservative support, especially with the Massachusetts health-care legislation he signed into law (that's very similar to President Obama's).

The language on abortion, family, and religion, of course, were designed to pick up conservative grassroots support, but from a different leg of the stool in a different state – social conservatives in Iowa.