Washington (CNN) - As he decides whether to enter the Republican presidential nomination battle, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels came to Washington on Wednesday touting his education reform and fiscal records but giving no further hints on which way he may be leaning.
During an appearance at the American Enterprise Institute, he talked about how the reforms just passed by the state legislature, including requiring annual evaluations of teachers and more charter schools in the state, will dramatically improve the education standards in the state.
The questions naturally turned to his presidential aspirations. When a reporter asked why it is not too late for someone to enter if he is not a celebrity or a billionaire, the audience erupted in laughter.
"People even more sage than I about our political process and our presidential process are very surprised that on May the 4th it is not already far too late, but for whatever reason it is not. I consider that from the standpoint of the public a blessing," Daniels said. "I guess unless you are a political professional or running a bed and breakfast in New Hampshire it is, it is a darned good thing that we'll have a campaign measured in months- a nomination campaign measured in months and not years."
In his second term as governor, a key emphasis of Daniels is to emphasize how the nation must confront the rising debt it faces and how dangerous it is.
A fiscal conservative, Daniels Wednesday also pointed out how his state is in the black at a time of economic distress, he has not raised taxes and has been able to even increase the amount devoted to education spending.
He, however, has drawn the scorn of some conservative activists in his party for calling a truce on social issues so there can be more concentration on the fiscal problems.
Daniels has said he would only make a decision about a run after the state legislature adjourned for the year, which it did on Friday.
In an interview with Fortune Magazine on Tuesday, he was asked if he's running for president and he said, "I really haven't made up my mind on that yet."
He told his speech audience on Wednesday that by this date "I really thought it might become too late. If it had that would have been that. But for whatever reason it appears not to be. Again I think it is a happy surprise."
But his advisers are making sure word of his accomplishments is getting out: an email listing them went out to reporters on Saturday, and during his East Coast trip this week he has done a series of national press interviews.
he totally lost me with "seeking advice from Bush"
He cut taxes on the rich, cut the school funding by the state privatizes what he can and thinks he's a great governor. Only thing that keeps him in office is ignorance in Indiana. Its stagnant and most people never went to college here. 80% don't have a 2 year college degree or higher. He privatized the food stamp program and IBM blew holes in it you could drive a John Deere tractor through. Guy is incompetent. And don't ask about his environmental record. Indiana provides most of the pollution for Great Lakes and Michigan.
Just what the country needs, a drug lobbyist as President.
Mr. Daniels was Geo W Bush budget man. Daniels took a surplus and guided it to a nose dive by October 2008. He's a no vote for me.
He looks sneaky. Hide you wife, hide your kids, better yet-just hide!
What is the big deal with trying to handle fiscal concerns first??
These social conservatives need to put first things first, like getting this country out of debt. If this nation goes belly up due to a crushing deficit, there will be NO U.S.A. left for any of these zealots to be preaching to.
Get with the program!!
Sure, Indiana is "in the fiscal black", so to speak. Lease the Indiana Toll Road to a private firm for 75 years...divide a state only 150 miles wide into two different time zones; give more to education this year, after he cut $300 million dollars last year. Defintely glad Mitch's term in Indiana is all most up. Education reform...sure, if you're for more private school vouchers. I will give him credit for modernizing our license branches, but they forbid clocks on the walls, so you don't know how long you've been there. Won't be getting my vote anytime soon.
Daniels is just another run-of-the-mill right-wing extremist who wants to continue giving tax cuts to the rich and corporate welfare to corporations and have the middle class and the poor pay for it. Simply another GOP-er who will not stand up for the rights of working people. Another GOP-er who will give the ultra wealthy tax cuts and then tell us we have to pay a lot more for our Medicare because of it. He is against unions, he blames teachers for our education problems, and even though he has supposedly called for a "truce" on social issues he is still in favor of discrimination against gay people among other right-wing social stances. He is nothing new. If you want right-wing extremism vote Republican, if you want someone to pay attention to the middle class for a change and address our problems without putting the burden on the middle class, decimating the poor, and failing to invest at all in our future (which we need to do to compete!) then vote Democrat. The GOP is too backward right now and Daniels is absolutely no different than any of them. OBAMA 2012 (the only way forward).