Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (search), who has spent the last several months addressing Republican loyalists around the country, acknowledged on Tuesday that he's considering a presidential bid in 2008.
"If someone said, well, you know, the governor's testing the national waters, that's a fair characterization," Romney said. "But I'm planning on running for governor. Time will tell, I'll make a final decision and an announcement in the fall, and we'll go from there."
Romney, a former venture capitalist who headed the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, won that year's race for governor in Massachusetts.
He has recently spent time in South Carolina, Michigan and California to talk to Republicans. In those speeches, he has cast himself as a social conservative on issues such as same-sex marriage (search) and embryonic stem-cell research (search).
A political action committee established by friends and supporters of Romney has distributed more than $250,000 to Republican candidates and county GOP organizations across the nation, a strategy often used by candidates considering a run for president.
In December, Romney pledged to run for re-election — his first term for governor ends in 2006 — but he's gradually backed away from that commitment.
On Tuesday, Romney reiterated that he would wait until the fall to make a final decision.
"I'm out speaking across the country. ... I'm seeing what it's like in the rest of the nation, but nothing's changed," he said. "My job keeps me here."