Daniels works to maintain national profile

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Since he decided against running for president in May, Gov. Mitch Daniels has given more interviews on national television than when he was still considering a run. Although he has said no to the top of the presidential ticket, he has not ruled out running for vice president.

Daniels made at least seven appearances on national television in August. One talked about the Aug. 13 state fair stage collapse, while the other six focused on the 2012 presidential campaign, his job as governor and his new book, which is due out this week.

In many ways, Daniels is a natural for the cable news circuit. He spent much of his career working in Washington, first for U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, then President Ronald Reagan and finally President George W. Bush. His years working inside the Capitol Beltway have allowed him to trade on pre-existing relationships and better pitch his story about governing Indiana.

Over seven days in August, he appeared on "Fox and Friends" to talk about the Indiana State Fair stage collapse, C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" to talk about the economy and his new book and NBC's "Meet the Press" to talk about the 2012 presidential candidates.

A spokeswoman for NBC-Universal declined to say whether the network reached out to Daniels or his team pitched him for an appearance on "Meet the Press." ''Washington Journal" producers sought out Daniels specifically to pontificate on the economy and his book, C-SPAN communications director Howard Mortman said in an email.

"It's an area he's uniquely qualified to speak on, having been head of the OMB and having demonstrated in Indiana that you can take a very conservative approach to spending tax dollars," said Mark Lubbers, one of Daniels' closest friends and political confidants.

Ironically, Daniels' decision not to run for president has made it easier for him to do national interviews because that question no longer dominates the media attention, Lubbers said.

Now, his publisher, Penguin, is pushing him for interviews to pump up interest in the book, "Keeping the Republic," which details, among other things, a fiscal plan for running America.

Darrell West, director of governance studies of at the Brookings Institution, said there may be more than just book sales in the works.

"He's keeping his name in the news, which is the perfect strategy to become vice presidential nominee," West said.

Daniels wouldn't be the first Hoosier considered as a running mate. Former U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh was on Barack Obama's short list as late as August 2008, just weeks before the Democratic Party's nominating convention. And Republican Dan Quayle, then the junior senator from Indiana, actually got the nod when George H.W. Bush tapped him as his running mate in 1988. Thomas Marshall filled the role under Woodrow Wilson.

Though Daniels said his family opposed a presidential run, he's deflected questions about a vice presidential candidacy in multiple interviews since May.

Democrats say Daniels' many national appearances suggest he is spending more time looking for his next job than focusing on the state for his final months in office.

"Obviously, he wants a role nationally, but he needs to fix some of the problems he's created here before he starts looking at that," said Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker.

Daniels' spokeswoman said the governor turns down most of the requests he receives for speaking engagements.

"The governor has long been sought for interviews, appearances and to write columns because of his accomplishments and ideas," spokeswoman Jane Jankowski said. "He's continued to do some interviews, speaking engagements and opinion pieces that give him a chance to brag about Indiana."

The bragging continues to sound much like a campaign speech — including the requisite spin.

Daniels told business leaders at a West Virginia Chamber of Commerce luncheon last week that he successfully capped property taxes across the state. He omitted the fact that he helped pay for the caps by raising the state sales tax to 7 percent.

Daniels also told the crowd that Indiana had "no unfunded pension liabilities" except for outstanding payments to the state's teachers. The executive director of the state's pension system, however, told a legislative panel last month that Indiana has $14 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.

And in the Aug. 29 issue of conservative weekly "Human Events," Daniels touted Indiana's spending cuts and leaner government — without acknowledging that Indiana governors, unlike other governors or the president, don't need legislative approval to cut the budget.

"If our Indiana experience tells us anything, it's that many in our political class overestimate the degree of difficulty in diving into the excess government we have stacked up in America these last few decades," Daniels wrote.

It sounds ready-made for a campaign trail.


  • Future.....
    The true cost of Mitch's reign on Indiana will only be seen in years to come. He has disinvested in many services that have provided for Hoosiers for years and thrown that money into roads. He sold off the toll road and stuck that money in the bank to claim a surplus, only to blow it on yet more roads. He has completely neglected to work on resolutions for state insurance funds and many job promises have gone unfilled. We have thrown huge somes of money at businesses to locate here or relocate from indiana to indiana, but our unemployment rate remains high. He capped taxes and now local governments and schools are in extreme pinches. Suburbs that used to pride themselves on schools and services no longer can afford such claims. Daniels used personal buddies and campiagn contributers for all his pet projects. He has destroyed Indiana's future. Don't vote for Pence, he will simply continue this terror.
  • mitch
    ditch mitch....
  • Sgt. Shorty
    I agree with the first 2 comments. Now I have a question, may be 2. What has (not) my man Mitch done for In. Yes we have a billion $in the bank, but at what expense or should I ask at who's expense? Mitch has been a rogue that I know of since the IPL scandal and before based off of facts from his drug arrest. Remember?
  • Gov. Daniels
    Daniels isn't running for President because he doesn't want the NATIONAL HUMILIATION. His wife used to run around on him that led to a divorce and he took her back. Also him, and Ballard being COMMUNIST, and Bios against same sex marriages,being smoke free, and fitness for better health. OH Ye and the whole State Fair(POOR JUDGEMENT).
  • good
    im glad B/Mitch Daniels is not running for president.
    Many of us do not trust a x drug user.
    After Mitch Daniels ’71 was arrested, indicted and convicted on charges of drug use as an undergraduate in May 1970, he said that he thought his aspiring political career was doomed. “Any goal I might have had for competing for public office were shot,” he told The Daily Princetonian in September 1988.

    More than 20 years later, Daniels, now the governor of Indiana, has proved his own nay-saying wrong, emerging as a national political figure that many speculate will make a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. His four years at Princeton, most prominently marked by the legal problems of his junior year, reveal a complicated man that bridged seeming contradictions in both his academic and extracurricular lives.

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  1. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............