Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman officially launched his presidential candidacy today at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, where Ronald Reagan announced his general election White House bid in 1980.
Huntsman formally entered the 2012 Republican presidential sweepstakes, promising new jobs, energy independence and a simpler tax code.
He said he will run a campaign that is based on who would be a better president, not who is a better American.
"For the first time in our history, we are about to pass down to the next generation a country that is less powerful, less compassionate, less competitive and less confident than the one we got," Huntsman said as he declared he's joining the race to face President Barack Obama.
Huntsman is the eighth candidate to officially enter the race, joining former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., former pizza company entrepreneur Herman Cain, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
There has been speculation that Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani might also jump in.
In the announcement speech Huntsman gave at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, he said he respects Obama, whom he served as ambassador to China, but added that he and the president have "a difference of opinion on how to help the country we both love."
"But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is, 'Who will be the better president, not who's the better American.' "
Huntsman had been flirting with a presidential run for months, and in interviews recently he has criticized U.S. foreign policy, saying the country is overcommitted to world trouble spots. He has also sought to stress his background as a businessman and has said jobs would be a top priority.
Huntsman said: "We will not be the first American generation that lets down the next generation."
"What we need now is leadership that trusts in our strength. Leadership that doesn't promise Washington has all the solutions to our problems, but rather looks to local solutions in our cities, towns and states."