Daniels, Obama cruise to victory

December 29, 2008
The last time Indiana went for the Democrat in a presidential election, Lyndon Johnson trounced conservative Barry Goldwater at the 1964 polls. More than 40 years later, Sen. Barack Obama earned his historic White House victory thanks, in part, to Hoosiers' 11 electoral votes.

The path to the Oval Office doesn't usually go through Indiana. But Obama made 49 campaign stops in the state. He spent the spring in a hotly contested campaign against New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. The unusually long primary allowed him to establish grassroots support and set up field offices around the state.

By contrast, his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, never mounted a serious challenge in Indiana. He came here just three times.

On Election Day, millions of people across the country and around the globe were thrilled when Obama's theme of change translated into success at the ballot box. African-Americans were particularly moved to see one of their own achieve the country's highest position, after centuries of struggle.

Yet despite the Democratic tide, which swept Republicans across the nation out of office, incumbent Gov. Mitch Daniels won a second term. Daniels' victory—by an almost 20-percent margin—was one of few red victories on the mainly blue U.S. map.

It fueled national speculation that Daniels might attempt to unseat Obama in 2012. The governor has worked directly for two U.S. presidents, first as a senior adviser to Ronald Reagan and then as director of the Office of Management and Budget for George W. Bush.

But Daniels pledged his second gubernatorial campaign was his last foray in politics. Instead, he'll spend his new term in office addressing Indiana's economic woes, as the national economy falls into a deep recession. His agenda for 2009 includes balanced budgets and local government consolidation.
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