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GOP challengers on the attack as Obama announces re-election bid

President Barack Obama gestures while speaking at a UPS facility in Landover, Md., April 1, 2011.
AP Photo

As soon as President Obama officially announced his re-election campaign this morning (by filing the paperwork with the Federal Election Commission and releasing a new web video), Republicans were out of the gate and running with their own blistering responses.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the most prominent Republican officially in the running against Mr. Obama, released a 35-second video response today that features ominous music and images of lightening striking over the White House and houses pegged with foreclosure signs.

"To take a new direction, it's going to take a new president," Pawlenty says at the end of the video.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, has yet to officially enter the race but made clear he intends to go head-to-head with Mr. Obama on issues like the economy in 2012. "@barackobama I look forward to hearing details on your jobs plan, as are 14m unemployed Americans," Romney tweeted today.

The Republican National Committee also launched a video today and a corresponding website called "HopeIsn'"

"You've always gotten what you wanted, but is it what we wanted?" asks a narrator in the video, over an image of Mr. Obama signing his landmark health care reform legislation. "We need jobs, we need leadership, yet you do nothing... It's like you don't even get it."

The 54-second video features the now-familiar footage of Velma Hart, the Obama supporter who told the president at a town hall last year that she was "exhausted" from defending his economic policies.

The RNC, which aims to bolster its presence in the 2012 election cycle after a relatively weak showing in 2010, asks supporters on the top of its new site, "Help us defeat Obama's billion dollar campaign."

Twenty months before the November 2012 election, only three lesser-known candidates have joined Pawlenty in formally establishing presidential exploratory committees: Godfather Pizza CEO Herman Cain, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer and retired political consultant Fred Karger.

The GOP's main line of attack against Mr. Obama clearly focuses on jobs and the economy, but that message may present challenges for the party. While the economic recovery has been slow, unemployment levels are at a two-year low. The president's approval rating stands at 49 percent, according to the last CBS News poll.