EXETER, NEW HAMPSHIRE - Saying that "I want to restore the belief in America for every family living in America today," former New York Governor George Pataki announced his candidacy for the White House Thursday morning.

The Republican made the announcement in a forceful 25-minute speech in New Hampshire.

"Conservative policies replaced dependency with opportunity in New York State," he told suppoters. "I know we can do the same thing in the United States."

Pataki led the state during the September 11th attacks, and his candidacy is expected to hinge on foreign policy and his leadership following the attacks.

"September 11th was a horrible time for us, and I'm sure for all of you as well. The personal loss was devastating. The most important thing government does is provide for the security and safety of its citizens. A strong America is a safe America," he said to cheers.

The former governor is the second major New York figure to enter the face after former New York Sen. Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy last month. Contrasting his party with Clinton's Democratic party, Pataki said that "we are the party of the middle class -- unless by middle class, they mean someone who charges a poor country $500,000 for a half-hour speech. That's their party's candidate."

"She speaks for the middle class?" he said of Clinton. "They are the party of privilege. We are the party of the middle class."

Pataki also hammered away at big government.

"Government has grown too big, too powerful, too expensive, and too intrusive," he said. Washington politicians and bureaucrats believe they know better than us, and can tell us how to run our lives.  Let's deliver a clear message to the politicians in Washington: you are our servants, not our masters."

Ahead of the announcement, a four-minute-long campaign video was released portraying Pataki as a common man able to overcome partisan politics.

In the video, Pataki talks about the strength and resolve of Americans after the September 11th attacks, which happened while he was governor.

Pataki has flirted with running for president before, but this will be the first time he actually enters the race.

He served as governor for three terms from 1995 to 2006.

Pataki's announcement comes one day after another Republican entered the race for president. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is making his second attempt at winning the White House. He lost the 2012 Republican nomination to Mitt Romney. 

Santorum says he plans to make the middle class the focus of his campaign.