What Is the Story About the Story About Mitch Daniels' Marriage?

A blog about politics, sports, media, stuff
May 12 2011 2:33 PM

What Is the Story About the Story About Mitch Daniels' Marriage?


Cheri Daniels, the wife of Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, is supposed to give a speech at a Republican Party dinner tonight. This is important, for some reason that has to do with Mitch Daniels' potential candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.

Advertisement


The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny reported that "

" and that there has been "increased scrutiny on the couple's private life."



Specifically, the troublesome "part of the personal narrative" is


a three-year gap in their marriage in the 1990s, when she filed for divorce, moved to California with a new husband and left Mr. Daniels to raise their four daughters, then ages 8 to 14. She later returned and remarried him.

And? They got married, mumble mumble, they are married now. It's a pretty common story arc for marriages, even if there was more paperwork in the middle than usual. There are certainly

than that in this presidential field.



If Mitch Daniels had custody of the children during the couple's years apart, then it's hard to see what would be so damaging to him about the details, if the details were being publicized—which they are not. Cheri Daniels, Zeleny wrote


has never publicly discussed their divorce and is not expected to suddenly do so in the not-so-intimate setting of a hotel ballroom filled with political activists.

Yet here it is, being non-discussed in the Times (and the

, and the

). All this attention, turning so suddenly. Luckily, Jason Horowitz of the Washington Post has

:


A rival campaign has identified the first lady’s reticence as a pressure point before she steps fully into the limelight....

In exchange for anonymity, an official for another GOP prospect provided contact information for the ex-wife of the man Cheri Daniels married, in the years between her divorce and remarriage to Daniels. Other officials at potential rival campaigns to Daniels disagreed about whether the personal history of Cheri Daniels would ever be a vulnerability or even germane to the race.

So: it's already time for preemptive oppo. Psy-oppo-ops. Remember when the Hillary Clinton campaign had stuff that was simply going to destroy Barack Obama? (Remember when Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain each starred in Cheri Daniels-style reluctant-spouse storylines?) Mitch Daniels has been warned. Or is Mitch Daniels doing the warning? The Washington Post, again:


"I talked to the governor briefly," said Jane Jankowski, a spokeswoman for Daniels, when asked for a response to the preemptive attack. "And Governor Daniels chooses to believe that no candidate would employ such tactics, and if someone working for a candidate did such a thing, it must not have been authorized."
If.

Daniels has a hypothetical meta-rejection of the preemptive speculation about a possible narrative line if he were to enter the race. (I think. I may have missed a step or two.) And it makes him come out as being above the fray. This is already more canny and impressive than anything Newt Gingrich has come up with.


TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

The World

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies

They’re just not ready to admit it yet.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 16 2014 2:11 PM Spare the Rod What Charles Barkley gets wrong about corporal punishment and black culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 2:35 PM Germany’s Nationwide Ban on Uber Lasted All of Two Weeks
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 1:27 PM The Veronica Mars Spinoff Is Just Amusing Enough to Keep Me Watching
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 1:39 PM The Case of the Missing Cerebellum How did a Chinese woman live 24 years missing part of her brain?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.