DETROIT — U.S. Rep. Thaddeus G. McCotter of Michigan used a sweltering Fourth of July weekend and his red, white and blue guitar to formally announce his presidential bid at a lakeside conservative gathering in Michigan.
Mr. McCotter, a tough-talking Republican lawyer from Livonia, told a crowd of about 450 gathered outdoors Saturday at Whitmore Lake, Mich., that more government was not the answer to giving the nation a more prosperous future.
"Our security is from strength, not appeasement or surrender," Mr. McCotter, a five-term congressman from Michigans 11th District said. "Our prosperity is from the private sector, not the public sector. While it is a hard road ahead, we will have better days and we will start now."
Mr. McCotter, 45, a father of three and a Catholic, had hinted at a presidential run over the past month as other candidates jumped into an already crowded field. In the last week, he made the rounds in Iowa and will visit New Hampshire soon in an effort to raise his name recognition in key primary and caucus states.
As a lawmaker with a relatively unknown national profile, Mr. McCotter faces long odds that he can mount a competitive campaign or raise the necessary funds. But his bedrock conservative philosophy, including a cry for less government, and his opposition to President Obamas health care reform, have earned him credibility among his peers as someone unafraid to stand up to Democrats in Washington.
He also received kudos within his home state for his support of federal money to bailout U.S. automakers, a plan pushed by the Obama administration and decried by candidates, such as native Michigander Mitt Romney.
But Mr. McCotter told the crowd, who cheered his speech, that "what we need in Washington is someone who knows the future is not big government, it is self-government.
"Through your hard work and through your principled determination to bequeath to your children a better America, we will restructure the government," Mr. McCotter urged the crowd. "The United States will remain a beacon of liberty."
Mr. McCotter, who spoke briefly as storm clouds gathered in the night sky, was joined on stage by his wife and two of his children. An avid rock musician who plays in a congressional pick-up band known as "the Second Amendments," Mr. McCotter later used his star-spangled guitar to jam with a local group.
Detroit Free Press columnist and associate editor Ron Dzwonkowski, in a recent column, dubbed Mr. McCotters White House bid a long shot, but said with his snappy rhetoric and tenacity, Mr. McCotter would no doubt make his mark.
"Now that hes in, dont expect him to get out of this race," Mr. Dzwonkowski wrote. "He may not win, but the other candidates will feel his push."
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