Politics & Policy

Daniels on 2012: ‘I’m not saying I won’t do it’

At an Indiana GOP dinner featuring first lady Cheri Daniels as keynote speaker, Mitch Daniels spoke for a few minutes — and gave little away about his 2012 plans.

“This whole business of running for national office … I’m not saying I won’t do it,” he said, talking about how he had planned to go “to some quiet place … [like] Al Gore’s cable network” after his term as governor was over.

Mitch Daniels also cracked a joke about the press attention he has been getting lately, saying that the accounts he read made think that he had “to be homeliest, most boring person” that ever thought about running for president.

He also took a crack at the recent remarks that he doesn’t have the right attitude for a Republican nominee, saying that when Indiana Republican gather “the only red meat … is on the menu.”

Talking about how he met his wife, Mitch Daniels said, “In 1975, I met a small town girl and it was one of those first sight things.”

UPDATE: Cheri Daniels said little that alluded to 2012 in her keynote speech. (Although Daniels fans may want to note that she said: “If Mitch wants me to do something and he thinks the answer’s going to be no, he tells Cindy [Hoye, the executive director of the Indiana State Fair Commission] to ask me.”)

What Cheri Daniels did do is show an audience that she’s a good sport, showing clips of herself doing everything from flipping pancakes to looking at cows named after her and Mitch Daniels. She talked about her love for the Indiana state fair, and joked about struggling to pose while holding a small pig. She showed slideshows of past Halloweens in the Daniels household, photos depicting her and Mitch dressed-up in costumes inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Grease, and the Indy 500. She shared what it’s like to judge a spam recipe contest, and talked about how unnerving riding in a hot-air balloon was.

Cheri Daniels also easily slid into the same self-deprecating humor her husband is known for. Talking about how she’d accepted the invitation and then decided that her invitation to speak would be rescinded, Daniels said, “I have to say I thought I’d get a laugh on that joke because that’s one of Mitch’s jokes. And he charged me ten dollars to use it.”

Cheri Daniels seemed comfortable, confident as a speaker, and to be enjoying the opportunity to share her experiences. But there was nothing to indicate whether she’d like to continue this level of attention by encouraging her husband to pursue a presidential run.

Correction: “Outdoors cable network” has been switched to “Al Gore’s cable network.”

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...

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