Mitch Daniels Won't Run

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 22 2011 9:11 AM

Mitch Daniels Won't Run

He gives the statement to the Indianapolis Star:

Over the last year and a half, a large and diverse group of people have suggested to me an idea that I never otherwise would have considered, that I run for President. I’ve asked for time to think it over carefully, but these good people have been very patient and I owe them an answer.

The answer is that I will not be a candidate. What could have been a complicated decision was in the end very simple: on matters affecting us all, our family constitution gives a veto to the women’s caucus, and there is no override provision. Simply put, I find myself caught between two duties. I love my country; I love my family more.

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Daniels had one hell of a honeymoon period. As a proto-candidate, he was treated to profiles from even liberal journalists that praised his seriousness, his wit, his gutsiness -- the idea that America was pining for a short, uncharismatic answer to Obama was spun out of vapor, just for Daniels. (For the record, he's drily funny, just not a stirring speaker.) A few speeches about the threat of America's long-term debt, and some choice comments about how other issues didn't matter as much, made him the "serious" candidate, the one who made the most sense to pundits. His ties to powerful, moneyed Republican donors were decades-old and obvious -- he threatened to raise as much money as Mitt Romney.

Daniels and Barbour were often mentioned in the same context. Both were capping careers in the ranks of politics with second terms in state houses. Both were disinclined to grab onto, or respond to, buzzy scandals or litmus tests. Daniels was willing to walk away from a fight with a deal that made him happy and left unions or Democrats holding up their heads, not fully defeated. With both Daniels and Barbour out, and the governors in the race (Romney, Pawlenty, Johnson, and perhaps Palin) all out of office, able to opine without consequence, we're going to get a slightly more ideological race than we were expecting. And I was expecting it to be pretty damn ideological.

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David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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