Daniels: No regrets
June 7th, 2011
08:54 PM ET
9 years ago

Daniels: No regrets

(CNN)–He thinks he could have won, but he is still not interested in the job.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who announced last month he would not seek the Republican presidential nomination, told CNN, “I don’t believe in looking back, so no, I think we made the right and only decision for our family and I’ve got plenty to keep me busy and occupied.”

During an interview in his state capitol office, Daniels said since his announcement he has received calls from many of the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination.

He revealed that among those who urged him to run was his former boss, President George W. Bush. Daniels was the Bush administration’s budget director for several years.

He described what weighing his decision was like.

“It's almost surrealistic. I mean, I think it takes a certain amount of presumption to think of yourself in those terms and I never had … thought of running for president. But, I felt some sense of responsibility to people who thought we had something to offer– and I hope I didn't let them down.”

Asked if he thought a person needed to be obsessed with being president to run for the job, he said that some say “it might help a little. But if we had decided to try it I think I know a little bit about how to do it, and we would have had some fun with it. And we would have worked as hard as anybody, but I’m not looking back – never expect to.”

Daniels said he never asked aides to start preparatory work toward building a campaign.

“We didn't ask anybody to do anything. I didn't want to unless I was sure that I could uphold my end,” he said.

His family, he said, was never comfortable with the idea to run. “So when I realized that that wasn't going to change, we let everybody know,” he said.

While recent polls show at least a third of Republicans are dissatisfied with the current field of candidates, Daniels said “there’s several good people out there, each of whom is qualified and each of whom will have a good chance” of beating Barack Obama next year.

When pressed for specific names of those who would have a good shot, he mentioned former governors Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman.

When asked on a scale of 1 to 10 of how vulnerable Obama is, he picked 10.

“Clearly, their economic policies have failed, utterly, and we have an anemic recovery at best, not enough to provide jobs for those who are coming into the labor force, let alone everybody who lost work. And, the debts that are coming really are a terrifying dimension and the president has acted in almost every way to make that worse,” Daniels said.

He did not back away from his earlier call for a truce on social issues so maximum exposure can be given to what he believes is the nation’s most important problem – the exploding debt:

“I likened it to a threat to the national security, which it literally is, and said that if a foreign army … came through one of the borders we'd all put aside our other disagreements for a while and join arms as Americans to repel it. And, I think that the danger that we are facing is every bit as severe as some of those military threats we've faced before.”

As for the seriousness of that debt problem, he said, “The national government is flat broke, at the brink of bankruptcy, and we are facing incredible threat to the American dream if we don't address it.”

When asked if he would be interested in being the vice presidential nominee, he told CNN, “It's very improbable, but there are ways other than running for office that a person can try to contribute something to the national dialogue, and I'll be looking for those opportunities.” When pointed out that that was not a definite no, he said, “It’s a definite nonanswer.”

- On Monday, June 13, CNN will host the first New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate, live from Manchester, NH at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on CNNPolitics.com and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

Filed under: 2012 • Indiana • Mitch Daniels
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Fed Up

    Then Daniels should have run if he "knew" he could win. If he doesn't have the guts to run, then keep quiet about how good he can do.

    June 7, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    As for the seriousness of that debt problem, he said, “The national government is flat broke, at the brink of bankruptcy, and we are facing incredible threat to the American dream if we don't address it.”
    Given Obama's awful record on anything that has to do with unemployment and the economy, Americans will NOT be lining up at the polls in 2012 to say he's the guy to fix it. They WILL be lining up for someone like Mitt Romney who absolutely knows how to get us back on track and prosperous.

    At least Obama will be able to blame his defeat on the economy. What's one guy to do, right? ( Watch Romney and you will see one guy who knows! )

    June 7, 2011 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  3. John

    No you wouldn't have won either. You all ready make every woman In America mad at you. And you are going to be back by the Tea Party , and American don't want anything to do with them any more.

    June 7, 2011 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  4. Patrick from Minnesota

    If you think you could've won had you run, then why didn't you?

    June 7, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  5. frank from Indiana

    This runt is a sociopath if he has no regrets after being Bush's budget director and what he has done to this state. That he is a lame duck is the best thing for this state. hopefully the next governor will clean up his messes, from the environment to teacher pay to his idiotic ideas on selling state assets to balance the budget.

    June 8, 2011 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  6. Donny

    "As for the seriousness of that debt problem, he said, “The national government is flat broke, at the brink of bankruptcy, "

    Factually incorrect. Just more overinflated hysteria intended to scare people.

    June 8, 2011 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  7. Marie MD

    No you couldn't have won anything but I give you credit for taking your name off the running list of clowns.

    June 8, 2011 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  8. Njfinest2009

    Now that he dropped out before he jumped in he thinks he could have won? I think wifey and her checkered little past would have killed that dream.. He loves his family more so that is what he should focus on. Smart move not to air your dirty laundry..

    June 8, 2011 08:09 am at 8:09 am |