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Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels won't run for president

May 22, 2011|By Tom Hamburger | Washington Bureau
  • Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, an economic conservative with strong approval ratings in his home state, had been encouraged to run by members of the GOP establishment concerned about the quality of the 2012 presidential field.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, an economic conservative with strong approval… (Greg Swiercz, Associated…)

Reporting from Washington   — Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told supporters early Sunday morning that he has decided not to run for president. In an email sent just after midnight Eastern time, Daniels said that "the interests and wishes" of his family led him to decide not to make the race.

The decision ends a long period of speculation about the ambitions of the governor, who
formerly served as director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush.

The announcement was sent to supporters in an email distributed by the chairman of the Indiana state Republican Party, Eric Holcomb.

Daniels said family issues precluded a run for the White House.

“In the end, I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one, but that, the interests and wishes of my family, is the most important consideration of all," the email said. "If I have disappointed you, I will always be sorry. If you feel that this was a non-courageous or unpatriotic decision, I understand and will not attempt to persuade you otherwise. I only hope that you will accept my sincerity in the judgment I reached."

The email concluded by asking supporters to stay in touch. "if you see ways in which an obscure Midwestern governor might make a constructive contribution to the rebuilding of our economy and our Republic."

Daniels, an economic conservative with strong approval ratings in his home state, had been encouraged to run by members of the GOP establishment who have been concerned about the quality of the 2012 presidential field. Daniels made his name in Indiana as a cost-conscious governor who experimented in privatizing government services, including the delivery of welfare benefits and the construction of highways.

His announcement follows similar decisions by other prominent potential candidates, including Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and real estate developer Donald Trump.

Daniels had always said his decision was contingent on the support of his wife and four daughters. His wife, Cheri, filed for divorce in 1993 and moved to California to remarry. She later divorced, and she and Daniels remarried in 1997.

The Indiana Democratic Party, in a statement Sunday, praised the governor.

“We’ve disagreed with Mitch Daniels myriad times, but there’s no doubt that his decision not to enter this race is a loss for Republicans," party Chairman Dan Parker said. "Daniels would have brought a serious tone to a GOP field that’s thus far been characterized by silliness and distraction.”

After emailing supporters, Daniels delivered a written statement to the Indianapolis Star.
The statement, which the newspaper posted online early Sunday, said that "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.

"I am deeply concerned, for the first time in my life, about the future of our Republic. In the next few years Americans will decide two basic sets of questions: Who’s in charge here? Should the public sector protect "and promote the private sector or dominate and direct it? Does the government work for the people or vice versa?

"And, are we Americans still the kind of people who can successfully govern ourselves, discipline ourselves financially, put the future and our children’s interests ahead of the present and our own?

"I am confident that the answers will reaffirm the liberty and vitality of our nation, and hope to play some small part in proving that view true."

tom.hamburger@latimes.com

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