Romney was the first speaker of the day at the CPAC Conference in Washington, The Washington Post reported. Several other possible presidential candidates were to speak later in the day.
"Let me make this very clear," he said. "If I decide to run for president, it sure won't take me two years to wake up to the job crisis threatening America. And I won't be asking Timothy Geithner how the economy works -- or Larry Summers how to start a business. I know."
Romney did not mention healthcare. In Massachusetts, he pushed a healthcare plan that later served as a model for Obama's national plan.
This year's conference, sponsored by the American Conservative Union, attracted some controversy because the sponsors included a gay Republican group, GOProud. The Family Research Council boycotted the event, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee both stayed away, pleading other engagements.