Daniels wants to 'mute' debate over social issues
February 2nd, 2011
03:47 PM ET
4 years ago

Daniels wants to 'mute' debate over social issues

Washington (CNN) - Potential presidential candidate Mitch Daniels irked more than a few conservatives last year when he called for a "truce" on social issues while the country works through its economic problems.

Now he's doubling down on that position.

The Indiana governor and dark horse presidential favorite of many fiscal conservatives told radio host Laura Ingraham he wants to "mute" issue like abortion and gay marriage – at least for a certain amount of time while the country's growing debt is confronted and other economic problems are dealt with.

"I would like to think that fixing [the debt] and saving our kids' future could be a unifying moment for our country and we wouldn't stop our disagreements or our passionate belief in these other questions, we just sort of mute them for a little while, while we try to come together on the thing that menaces us all," he told Ingraham Monday in comments first reported by the Christian Broadcast Network's David Brody.

Daniel's rising presidential stock scored him an invite to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference – the annual gathering of social conservatives which has become a cattle call for wannabe presidential candidates.

But more than a few socially conservative groups were unhappy with the invite and have since said they will not attend the meeting in part because of Daniels' presence there.

"He has flown his white flag and he has surrendered. The foot soldiers in the conservative movement have for so long been pro-lifers. You can't win a national election by throwing these people away. We aren't going to stand for it," the American Principles Project executive director Andy Blom said in a statement last month.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitch Daniels
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. La, La, La

    That's because he's gay!

    February 2, 2011 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. Darth Vadik, CA

    Actually it sounds very reasonable to me, social issues are a direct result of economic issues, although in the Conservatives case social issues include such thing as involving God into politics and telling women what they can and can't do with their own bodies. Both things/issues that should not even be a part of the debate.

    February 2, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. Jeff in Virginia

    Right... He wants to not talk about these positions, because they are NOT POPULAR.

    This is an admission, right here, that Mitch Daniels is a Culture Warrior. He just doesn't want us to see it.

    February 2, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. ps

    Could there actually be a voice of reason in the republican party?

    February 2, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. Sgt Schultz

    Good enough of the useless Culture Wars that accomplish nothing. Stop the Partisan Extremism already.

    February 2, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I am beginning to think that Fox is losing their war to create fear and hatred, as more republicans appear to be moving away from their extreme agenda. Maybe baggers will also begin to see that Fox is not the solution, Fox is the problem.

    February 2, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. Mikey

    The T-Party won't like this – social conservatives dressed in fiscally conservative clothing.

    February 2, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  8. John in Brooklyn

    While I can somewhat admire the governor's call for muting social issues, it begs the question of the interdependence of social issues and economic ones. For example, can the burden of entitlement programs on the deficit really be adequately addressed when Social Security survivor benefits continue to be reserved for straight couples only? Can we balance the budget when Republican tax breaks disporportionately benefit the super wealthy compared to struggling single moms? No, Mr. Daniels, these issues cannot be entirely severed (or muted) and I will continue to vote for candidates who represent both a sound fiscal policy AND advocate for equality and fairness for every American.

    February 2, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Russ

    Good for Mitch, at least for now. These social issues are not the governments problem anyway and not why they should be elected. They are religious based issues. If you are truly a Christian bible thumper and most aren't, they just thump the bible, you and your church need to deal with the issues, not the US government.

    February 2, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Republicans = Fascists

    Repealing healthcare reform is a social issue. Why doens't Mitch tell that to his fascists conservative colleagues.

    February 2, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. trex

    OMG, a none rigid Republican. I thought those guys died out in the ealy 60's. I wonder if they can work on his DNA, and maybe, just maybe, be able to clone some SENSE INTO THE MORONIC DROOLING MASSES OF THE EXTREME RIGHT WING OF THE GOP.

    February 2, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. GL

    The Indiana governor and dark horse presidential favorite of many fiscal conservatives told radio host Laura Ingraham he wants to "mute" issue like abortion and gay marriage – at least for a certain amount of time while the country's growing debt is confronted and other economic problems are dealt with.

    Just until he get into office then he will go after them like the House Republicans. HYPOCRITES!

    February 2, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    Daniels can kiss his presidential aspirations good-bye . . . speaking for myself only, and as a previous 35yr Republican, social issues and fear mongering are all the GOPers have. It's these issues by which keeps the money flowing into Republican coffers. The abortion, gay marriage, my God is better than your God, GOPer mentality is rooted in hate and bigotry, and while most GOPers would never admit they are bigots - or full of hate and condemnation - their votes are always given predominately to the candidate that is the least tolerant of the bunch. It took me nearly a half a century to understand this ideology, and am amazed at how many of my family members still consider these issues priority number one, regardless of whether any one of the social causes brandied about would ever effect them in their own personal lives.

    February 2, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Luke

    No Republican candidate can compete in a national election without giving lip service to the abortion issue. It never gets done – Bush promised to erode a lot of abortion rights and he never delivered – but abortion is the #1 bogeyman of the American right. You don't get low income rural voters to support endless defense funding and tax cuts on the wealthy unless you can convince those voters that the other side is literally killing innocent babies

    February 2, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. DAVE

    the GOP can't stop talking about these issues without loosing the christrian vote they need to get in office. christians have been had by these issues for along time and i don't think they will wise up any time soon. they worship a man who healed the sick feed the poor without giving them a bill. he also turned the other cheek as well. pretty liberal things to do and have such a conservitive following. they want to support a party that thinks" greed is good and greed built this nation" they want people to not have healthcare they want wealfare cut they want social sercurity cut for old people who didn't earn or save enough money to retire on. shame on all you selfish christian conservitives because you have not learned anything about what jesus tried to teach you. we are a goverment that now totally is run by the dictates of greed only. its no wonder to me why god will bring his own goverment when he returns because i look around the world and don't see one goverment he could use as a model to start with!

    February 2, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Clwyd

    Daniels, Your pals in the Party of No said that their main goal was Jobs. Liars again and they are just what I thought they were, right wing extremists!

    February 2, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. sammieb51

    Thank you Mr. Daniels - the GOP used to be the party of reason and fiscal responsibility. God knows things have changed, but please let's solve the problems we have in this country that relate to work rather than our controlling our private lives with the myriad of social and moral issues that the GOP tout over everyone. !

    February 2, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    Hahahaha...now...you tell me who's crazier: the virulent right wing extremist Christian fundamentalists who believe the the founding fathers "didn't really mean" what they put in the First Amendment (and what was explained int he Federalist Papers) OR the GOPer who thinks he can get nominated without promising them he will do everything within his power (and even some things that exceed it) if elected to further their "Krischun Nashun" agenda. Someone slap this guy. Perhaps what's funniest is that not only does saying something reasonable like this about domestic policy make him crazy, but so does his apparent belief that we would trust Bush's former budget director...who oversaw the squandering of a surplus, accumulation of a massive debt and deficit and setting the ball rolling for accelerating the accumulation thereof...to fix the current economic mess by applying the same ideological economic brainfartery that got us into the mess in the first place. "Yes, everyone listen up: if we do the same thing, I promise, this time it will work...."

    February 2, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. Marko

    I don't understand these conservative groups who fight so hard against abortion and then fight so hard to deny any benefits to help these children that they demand to be born. Most are born to the poor who cannot take care of them. No, adoption is not the comeback, as most adopting parents want newborn babies and not older kids. I would like to know how many of them have adopted children from the USA and what are the children's ages at adoption.

    February 2, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Steve

    Arlen Specter tried this in 1996. Got him booed at the Republican convention in Iowa.

    February 2, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  21. Marie MD

    WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE???? They remind me of cockroaches (really and truly) scrambling when the lights are turned on!

    February 2, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. jack

    what a bunch of bible thumping homophobes..only in the USA

    February 2, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  23. GonzoinHouston

    A pragmatic republican who doesn't toe the line on the Christian Taliban's social issues is doomed. He may be right, but he is doomed.

    February 2, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. Ain't life strange?

    Ok... I get it now. Because Daniels thinks conservatives should hold off on things like gay marriage and the abortion issue and direct all focus on creating jobs, resurecting the economy, and cutting the deficit down, he's "throwing his principles away." If we don't do something about the sad state of this country and it's citizens, then abortions and gay marriage will be the least of our worries. I don't get how supposed learned men of the GOP can be so short sighted and ignorant of the real issues we face today that could cause lasting damage to America. Get your head out of the sand and give us the jobs you promised... remember... job #1... the priority you made during the recent election cycle?

    February 2, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. diridi

    another GOP thug from den....watch out....just brainless....idiots....what a pity, America...they are so desperate to mess again this nation....

    February 2, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
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