Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who decided last year against a presidential run, says he would consider serving in the cabinet of a new Republican president but believes it's "very improbable" the eventual nominee would tap him as a running mate.
Daniels made the comments Thursday during a wide-ranging interview with the editorial board of The Courier-Journal of Louisville, after he was asked if he would run for president if no other Republican candidate could defeat President Barack Obama in November.
"It just can't happen," Daniels said of entering the presidential campaign before adding that "it's very improbable" that the GOP nominee would ask him to run for vice president.
But Daniels, who is term-limited from seeking a third term as Indiana governor, said it would be a duty to consider a cabinet position if asked to serve.
"I don't think any citizen who thinks about it would say, if asked to serve, 'no,'" Daniels told The Courier-Journal during an hour-long, live-streamed interview.
Asked if he also would consider serving in a Democratic president's cabinet, Daniels said: "You have to give the same answer, whatever else you want to do, whatever else you're scheduled to do."
He added that the possibility of serving in a Democratic president's cabinet was "a new question" for him.
Daniels, the former federal budget director under President George W. Bush, was widely recruited to seek the presidency this year, but he said his family had discouraged him from running.
James McCann, a professor of political science at Purdue University, said he isn't surprised by Daniels' interest in a cabinet position. He said the end of Daniels' term as governor in January 2013 will leave him with a huge "question mark" about what career step to pursue next.
McCann said he believes the governor is measured and thoughtful in his public comments, so he has carefully crafted his response to questions about future positions.
"It sounds like he's leaving a lot open," McCann said.
Daniels also said Thursday that he will support whoever receives the Republican nomination to run against President Obama, saying the economy is "not improving fast enough."
Although the unemployment rate is declining, he warned that everybody should "keep the champagne on ice."
"We have a long, long way to go" on the economy, he said.