Maine man announcing for president - as Thomas Jefferson
August "Gus" Jaccaci, of New Gloucester, Maine, speaks to supporters at his alma mater, Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass., Friday, March 9, 2007, where he announced his write-in candidacy for president while impersonating Thomas Jefferson. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- A longtime art teacher who now describes himself as a "professional futurist and social architect" celebrated his 70th birthday Friday by announcing his write-in candidacy for president while impersonating Thomas Jefferson.

August "Gus" Jaccaci kicked off his campaign at Harvard University, his alma mater, where he said he once worked as an assistant to the dean of admissions.

No stranger to political campaigns, Jaccaci ran as an independent for governor of Vermont in 1992 and 1994 while living in Thetford, collecting about 1 percent of the vote each time.

In his latest political venture, Jaccaci said he plans campaign swings through New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada, all in character as Jefferson.

He has been "enacting" Jefferson while addressing conferences, high schools and business groups, and believes that he and the nation's third president have a strong physical resemblance.

"I feel a tremendous personal affinity to him as probably the greatest American icon that the world knows," he said. "The words 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,' are the best-known phrase for the whole meaning of America worldwide."

He said he doesn't shy away from controversies surrounding Jefferson.

"I've been doing this for 10 years and people have asked, 'What about Sally Hennings and why didn't you let your slaves go?' That's part of the dance; I'm always ready and willing and eager to deal with whatever the public wants to talk about," he said.

Asserting that the nation's politics are ripe for change, Jaccaci said his campaign's "bumper-sticker message" is threefold: "Abolish war, love all nature and know your neighbors."