On Mitch

Now that Mitch Daniels has bowed out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, I can safely say that he was my favorite of the potential candidates by far. It is not my job to endorse candidates, but I admired him greatly, not only for his success as a public servant but for his humility, wit, and keen intellect.

One bone I’d like to pick: I keep seeing people casually refer to the notion that Daniels underestimated the cost of the Iraq intervention as President Bush’s OMB director. Joseph Lawler and Ross Douthat set the record straight on this subject some time ago, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears:

But as the American Spectator’s Joseph Lawler points out, if you look back to what the Daniels-run O.M.B. was saying at the time of the invasion, they were budgeting $60 billion for the next six months, rather than claiming that it represented the full cost of our presence in Iraq.  

Ross goes on to make a number of other points.

I wrote a column describing the governor as “Obama’s perfect foil” in late November of 2008, so I like to think that I got on the Daniels bandwagon early. And now that chapter has closed.

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

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