SAN DIEGO (AP) — Mitt Romney told Republicans Friday he is weighing a third bid for president, one in which he would show more compassion toward the nation's poor and middle class — voters he alienated with some of his comments during his last campaign.
"I'm giving some serious considerations to the future," the 2012 GOP nominee said In a speech aboard a moored aircraft carrier at the end of the Republican National Committee's winter meeting.
Romney shocked the political world last week, telling former donors he was rethinking his previously stated opposition to running again.
With his wife, Ann, at his side, Romney said Friday: "The most frequently asked question I get is, 'What does Ann think of all this?' She believes that people get better with experience, and heaven knows I have experience running for president."
"She knows where my heart is," Romney said, referring to his wife's approval of his charity work.
Romney lost the 2012 campaign after making comments his opponents used to depict him as wealthy and out of touch.
But on Friday, before more than 200 GOP stalwarts, officials and former campaign aides, he said a third candidacy would focus on national security, improving opportunities for the middle class and "breaking the scourge of poverty."
"We can win in 2016 as a party, in the House, the Senate and the White House, if we communicate a clear vision of where we're taking this country and what we believe in," he said.
Romney's re-emergence comes as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is aggressively raising money in his own exploration of a GOP bid, and several others are taking steps to run.