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Former NY Gov. George Pataki announces presidential bid

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former New York Gov. George Pataki officially launched his bid for president on Thursday with a campaign video.

"It will be a very stiff climb up a very steep mountain, but that hasn't stopped me in the past," Pataki told the New York Post.

He framed himself in the mold of another former New York governor-turned-president, Theodore Roosevelt, emphasizing his commitment to environmental protections.

"I'm a Republican following in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt who understands that conservatism isn't just economic policy but it's also preserving and enhancing the outdoors," Pataki said.

Pataki is expected to speak more on his campaign at a news conference Thursday in Exeter, New Hampshire, a location that underscores the significance of the first-in-the-nation primary state for Pataki. He'll have to post a strong showing there, where voters have an independent streak and tend to back moderate Republicans like himself, if he hopes to compete in the race.

To that effect, he's focused most of his political efforts on the state since beginning the exploration process for a presidential bid. He's visited the state a number of times and his super PAC has run ads there.

But before he makes it to the Granite State primary, Pataki faces the challenge of raising his profile in an ever-expanding GOP field for president. Another Republican, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, is also planning to launch his bid this week, on Wednesday in Butler, Pennsylvania.