U.S. President Barack Obama has announced that he will stand for re-election in 2012.
Obama’s team made the announcement in an email to supporters early on Monday, April 4, and a video message was posted on his official website entitled: "It begins with us."
The announcement makes Obama the first candidate in the presidential race, as no representatives from the Republican party have yet declared.
The president’s team are expected to submit official papers to the Federal Election Committee sometime this week, allowing fund raising to begin. Supporters are hoping to raise $1 billion, the Los Angeles Times reported, an increase over the $750 million Obama raised in 2008.
Obama’s successful election three years ago was credited in part to his team’s widespread use of the internet to foster a grassroots movement.
The email to supporters on Monday appeared to follow a similar strategy. “We’re doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you—with people organizing block-by-block, talking to neighbors, co-workers, and friends,” Obama wrote. “And that kind of campaign takes time to build.
“So even though I’m focused on the job you elected me to do, and the race may not reach full speed for a year or more, the work of laying the foundation for our campaign must start today.”
As many as 15 Republican candidates have expressed an interest in running, including Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich. None have formally announced their candidacy.
Regardless of who he will face, Obama will be forced during the 2012 campaign to defend highly controversial policies such as the stimulus package and the health care bill.
Despite that, a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll suggested that 51 per cent of Americans are happy with Obama’s performance so far, while 45 per cent disapprove.