With the release of a video, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich formally entered the 2012 Republican presidential race, today.
"I'm Newt Gingrich, and I'm announcing my candidacy for President of the United States because I believe we can return America to hope and opportunity, to full employment, to real security, to an American energy program, to a balanced budget," he said in the video.
The Washington Post reports that Gingrich is the first major Republican candidate to enter the 2012 race:
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty have both formed presidential exploratory committees and are expected to formalize their bids soon.
Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman is moving quickly toward the race while Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin remain on the sidelines — for now.
For more on Gingrich, check out the profile NPR's Brian Naylor put together for today's Morning Edition.
Update at 5:14 p.m. ET: Gingrich also made it official via Twitter:
Today I am announcing my candidacy for President of the United States.