Daniels: Family 'scared to death' about 2012 run
January 3rd, 2011
12:05 PM ET
11 years ago

Daniels: Family 'scared to death' about 2012 run

(CNN) – Now that it's 2011, potential GOP presidential candidates are being asked left and right about their Oval Office ambitions.

The latest to sound off is Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a dark-horse favorite among many Beltway insiders who believe his economic conservatism and no-nonsense personality might jibe perfectly with the broader mood of the electorate.

"There has now been so much of it, you can't ignore it," Daniels, the former Bush budget director, said of the 2012 speculation during an interview with the Terre Haute Tribune Star in article published Monday.

Daniels, who stopped far short of denying he is eyeing a presidential bid, said he's not happy with the national media's caricature of him as a "cerebral and boring" politician.

"It's as if they think you couldn't be smart and funny at the same time," Daniels said of media pundits who often praise Daniels resume by note his seeming lack of excitement. "It's as if you're either a person of the people or a wonk. They can't quite cope with the idea that maybe you could be a little bit of both."

Still, Daniels admits he lacks a certain flash-in-the-pan energy of other potential 2012 candidates.

"For them politics is television and tarmacs," he said of other candidates, without naming names. "They're raising money, having little media stunts and they're closeted away with consultants. We are at the other end of the earth from that."

In fact, in perhaps his biggest hint yet he is serious about a presidential bid, Daniels said his biggest concern when it comes to 2012 is a campaign may impact his wife and four grown daughters.

"It scares them to death," he said. "And it should."

Filed under: 2012 • Mitch Daniels
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. tamara

    "For them politics is television and tarmacs," he said of other candidates, without naming names. "They're raising money, having little media stunts and they're closeted away with consultants. We are at the other end of the earth from that."

    Wow, I didnt think there was an Republican politicians left that were level headed and wasnt a 'reality star' wanna-be. Very refreshing...

    January 3, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. Georgia, Joe

    He has the potential to be a good office holder, but he is too middle of the road to pass the test of the nut jobs who are now running the Republican Party.

    January 3, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. d

    How can they say he's economically conservative in one paragraph, and then the next say he was Bush's budget director? There was nothing fiscally conservative about the W. Bush administration.

    January 3, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. Take America Back From the I.T.T Democrats

    Another "Beltway Rhino Republican" NO, NO, & NO........he cannot win over Sarah Palin....and as for Will and the other "old-guard Rhinos" discarding her as "un-electable".......Please allow me to point out; Will and all like him said the same things about Ronald Regan! "He is too conservative....too far to the right......only the out lying Republicans will vote for him".....we have heard it all before!
    Again.....if Sarah Palin is so "un-electable and insignificant" as a 2012 canidate......WHY waste all the "I. T. T.".... Ink, Treasury, and Time in trying to discredit her? If she is all that bad, she will discredit herself! Save your I.T. & T.

    January 3, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Phil in KC

    All I need to hear is "Bush Budget Director". So he's the guy responsible for taking a budget surplus and turning it into a huge deficit? Yeah – that's what we need.

    January 3, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    Certainly, Palin and her comical followers have set the bar for divisiveness ... and just as certainly you, Gov. Daniels, will receive much of the same treatment Obama has had thrown at him for the past two years. Why put your family through it all, if it "scares them to death"? Or, are you one of the naive who thinks they won't have to dirty themselves by putting Palin in her place? Good luck waiting for the media to do your dirty work for you - ain't going to happen. The first GOPer candidate to take Palin out of the picture will win the GOPer presidential nomination. I seriously doubt you have what it takes.

    January 3, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. John

    Mitch Daniels... OMG! He's the biggest lock-step political wonk there is! Think Calvin ("Silent Cal") Coolidge in the 21st century!

    January 3, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. Dale

    Republicans have absolutely zero credibility when they claim to be fiscally conservative. They aren't. They spend the money on different things than Democrats, but they are just as foolhardy with our tax dollars. GWB's unneccessary invasion of Iraq to the tune of a couple trillion dollars– paid for by borrowing. Grossly excessive spending on a bloated military industrial complex– many trillions of dollars every year. Buying things for the military that the military says they don't want– trillions. They give tax breaks for the rich any time they get a chance, piling onto the national debt. "Fiscally conservative"? Don't make me laugh.

    January 3, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. Pretzel Logic

    His wife and daughters needn't worry as he's completely unelectable.

    January 3, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "It scares them to death," he said. "And it should."
    I couldn't agree more. Elections have a way of turning up subject matter best kept under wraps, and highlighting 'deficiencies' that woud not withstand the merciless scrutiny of those seeking to gain access to the Oval Office.

    Ask the Half-Wit half-termer from Wasilla, and her brood.

    A Happy and blessed New Years' to everyone!

    January 3, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. gt

    who would put there families through this mess... men with hugh egoes....or women....

    January 3, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. ThsIsNotReal22

    There's only 2 words to think about in 2012: RON PAUL

    January 3, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  13. Scott

    Daniels was only budget director for 2.5 years with Bush.
    I'm from Indiana and though we are not in a great spot, it would have been a lot worse without Mitch. When the state had a surplus, the dems wanted to spend it and mitch said no. A few years later the economy tanked and we had some extra money to work with. Yes, he has made some tough cuts, but it is what it needed. Indiana's head is above water and that is thanks to Mitch Daniels.
    He has my vote if he runs. I have complete trust in him. He will cut the budgets and people won't like it, but the spending has to STOP. We can't afford it anymore.

    January 3, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    Best potential candidate, I have seen yet.

    January 3, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Marc

    The first Conservative who can focus on bread & butter issues like the economy, the deficit, the trade deficit etc, without bringing in all the B.S. social issues that are designed to roil the base has my vote. I want a person who understands that if we don't get the spending under control, if we don't stop exporting good middle class jobs, if we don't reign in some of the corporate corruption then we're going to be a third world country and it won't matter if gays get married or we allow abortiion. Mitch Daniels seems like that guy. Let's see..... Unfortunately, somebody like him is going to have to come as a third party candidate as the two machines that control this country answer only to their bases in the primaries and then "come a courtin" the middle ground indpendents once the real election gets underway. The entire process is perverse and useless and only serves to provide us with clowns like Sarah Palin or Dennis Kucinich.

    January 3, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. Hoosier

    Yeah, he's just great. He sold the management of our toll roads to a foreign country among other things. I don't think he's governer material, let alone presidential. He has the personality of a rock.

    January 3, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    Three words: Bush's Budget Director.

    Recipe for squadered surplus, insane debt/deficit growth and exponential increases in the wealth gap:

    Step 1: Decrease gov't revenue by enacting massive, unblanaced, inequitable tax cuts that primarily benefit the extremely wealthy.

    Step 2: Start two wars and fund them by borrowing from China.

    Step 3: Attempt to hide the budgetary problems by engaging in age-old, but ultimately transparent, accounting shenanigans.


    Step 5: Run the budgetary genius who spearheaded Steps 1 through 3 as a candidate for POTUS.

    Step 6: ....

    Step 7: Laugh at the middle class while crapping in golden toilets.

    January 3, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. sane citizen

    "It's as if they think you couldn't be smart and funny at the same time," Daniels said of media pundits who often praise Daniels resume by note his seeming lack of excitement"

    It' s not so much the media who doesn't appreciate "smart", Daniels . . . it's actually your own party who not only doesn't appreciate "smart" but actually seem to be threatened by "smart". Now if you were to run as a Democrat that might be different. We Democrats actually think "smart" is a good trait to have.

    January 3, 2011 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. The Other Michael in Houston

    People are not spending their "I.T.T" on Sarah trying to discredit her, she discredited herself. No way she has a chance of beating President Obama in a general election. Sarah is an entertainment piece for most of us Americans, she is a train wreck that keeps on wrecking. Funny to see you so called conservative all of sudden want to change how government does things, I'm just trying to guess how old you tea people are, what 2 years old???? You have to be, that is the only logical reason that i can think of that would explain why all of you act as if 2000-2008 did not exist.

    January 3, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  20. John

    Don't ever forget who the White House Budget Director was when the Federal surplus went into a huge deficit slide! Good old Mitch! "My man Mitch" as Bush dubbed him!

    January 3, 2011 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. T'sah from Virginia

    @Take America Back – Can I have some of what you are smoking???? Sarah Palin????? Sarah Palin is not "electable"...PERIOD!!!

    I agree with D – "How can they say he's economically conservative in one paragraph, and then the next say he was Bush's budget director?"

    Please – let's stick with our current leader, President Obama, as he continues to MOVE AMERICA FORWARD!!!

    January 3, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. reveille

    Even considering GWB's former budget director, the man who oversaw the growth of the nation's worst deficit...now THAT'S scary!!

    January 3, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. Take America Back to the Bush Error?

    If you think the Daniels family is scared to death about Mitch running, what about 75% of Americans scared to death of him returning us to the Bush economy? Remember "W" telling us we are on the brink of the largest economic meltdown and depression?

    January 3, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. Torino

    A perfect non polarizing Republican candidate with conservative views, a fiscal track record of cost reduction and selling non core assets and a very nice and likable demeanor rooted in quality of character... the Anti- Obama. Union people hate him in Indiana so he's doing something right.

    January 3, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. Ted

    Don't dismiss Mitch Daniels so fast. He is probably the only Republican potential candidate that Democrats might like. I voted Obama and will again. But if Mitch Daniels was the GOP candidate, I would listen and learn about his approach. He has done a good job as governor.

    January 3, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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