Campaign Aide Says Republican Mitt Romney to Announce '08 Bid Next Week

Republican Mitt Romney will formally announce his candidacy for president on Feb. 13 in Michigan, his native state and an important early test for the GOP nomination, a campaign aide said Tuesday.

The former one-term Massachusetts governor then will visit Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina before returning to Boston, where he will hold what the campaign is calling "a unity event" with supporters, said the adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plans were not public.

The move has been expected.

Click here to visit's You Decide 2008 center.

Romney created an exploratory committee in January and quickly thereafter held a major fundraising event that netted $6.5 million in contributions and pledges to show that he was a serious contender able to challenge political celebrities John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, the other top-tier Republican candidates.

The initial steps were a formality. It has long been known that Romney aspired to the presidency. He has spent months building a campaign organization, hiring top political talent and courting fundraisers. His campaign recently opened its headquarters along Boston's waterfront.