Politics & Policy

Daniels’s Cheapskate Side

From Roll Call’s Shira Toeplitz, a fascinating look at Daniels’s career — and his consistent carefulness about spending over the years:

Legend has it that when a famously frugal Mitch Daniels worked as an aide on Capitol Hill 30 years ago, he once fished quarters out of the Tune Inn toilet to save money for his beer. …

Daniels’ former staff recall a frugal, intense boss who filled legal pads with notes at daily staff meetings and always split the lunch bill. When staffers traveled between Indiana and D.C., they were forced to stay with each other instead of in hotels.

“The annual discussion with Mitch about salaries was not the high point of the year,” Bergner recalled. “We always joked that no matter how difficult it was for us, it must be more difficult for his wife, Cheri, on a full-time basis.”

He was equally stingy in his personal life: He lived in a basement apartment on F Street Northeast between Second and Third streets — an undesirable neighborhood in the late 1970s — with worn-out furniture and bars on the doors and windows. He drove a beat-up, yellow Volkswagen Beetle with missing floorboards on the shotgun side.


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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