Political observers of Gov. Mitch Daniels see plenty of signs that the 61-year-old Republican is eyeing a presidential run in 2012.
But Daniels—while leaving himself open to the possibility—has insisted his focus, for now, at least, is on Indiana and the upcoming legislative session.
Discussion about a potential Daniels bid began heating up early in the year, after he stopped saying he wouldn’t run and instead said he wouldn’t entirely rule out the idea.
He told The Washington Post in February that, after receiving calls from GOP leaders encouraging him to look at a bid in 2012, he agreed he will “stay open to the idea.” He suggested that if he jumped in, it would be because other candidates weren’t addressing the crucial issues of our day—debt and deficits, and the size and role of government.
Daniels, a former political adviser to President Reagan and budget director for President George W. Bush, has taken other steps pundits believe help groom him for a presidential run.
For example, he’s written op-ed pieces in The Wall Street Journal and has appeared on Fox News, in Newsweek and in other media outlets. And in September, Politico.com broke a story that Daniels has hosted dinners at the governor’s residence for Republican business and political leaders. Bush took similar steps before his successful bid for presidency in 2000.
For now, though, Daniels won’t discuss the possibility. During a press conference on his legislative agenda in November, he said he won’t talk about whether he’ll run until after the session ends in the spring.
That hasn’t kept people from trying to find out. At public appearances and speeches, they’ve peppered Daniels with questions ranging from the weather in Iowa to what his plans are for national office.
So far, he hasn’t caved.•