To the Citizens of New Hampshire:
I hardly need to remind you of the importance of the New Hampshire Presidential primary -- both to the candidates and to the country. This importance stems from more than the fact of its being first. It stems also from the spirit in which New Hampshire's voters approach the election, keenly aware of their special responsibility, of the broad influence of their votes.
In 2008, your responsibility is greater than ever. The nation is in grave difficulties, around the world and here at home. The choices we face
are larger than any differences among Republicans or among Democrats, larger even than the differences between the parties. They are beyond politics. Peace and freedom in the world, and peace and progress here at home, will depend on the decisions of the next President of the United States.
For these critical years, America needs new leadership.
During fourteen years in Washington, I learned the awesome nature of the great decisions a President faces. During the past eight years I have had a chance to reflect on the lessons of public office, to measure the nation's tasks and its problems from a fresh perspective. I have sought to apply those lessons to the needs of the present, and to the entire sweep of the 21th Century.
And I believe I have found some answers.
I have decided, therefore, to enter the Republican Presidential primary in New Hampshire.
I will try to meet as many of you as I can -- Republicans, Democrats and Independents, those who will vote in March and those who will vote in November. I will invite your comments. I will answer your questions. I will discuss with you my own vision of America's future, and I will ask for yours.
I have visited New Hampshire often -- as a candidate, as a public official, and as a private citizen. I appreciate the many courtesies you have paid me. I am deeply grateful for your support in past elections. But in asking your support now, I ask it not on the basis of old friendships. We have entered a new age.
And I ask you to join me in helping make this an age of greatness for our people and for our nation.