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"We owe the people an answer."
With Chris Christie repeatedly turning down calls for him to run for president in 2012, the question now is, who will he support for the GOP nomination? According to CBS, we have an answer. And it's found in the Hoosier state.
After a rousing speech by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels's wife, Cheri, on Thursday that included a crowd chant of "Run Mitch, run," the speculation that the former Bush budget director might enter the race is at an all-time high. And with quotes like this one, he's sure stoking the presidential fire: "This whole business of running for national office -- I'm not saying I won't do it."
But unless one can secure strong support from others who have influence, a presidential run is DOA. That would mean that a Daniels run would be quite alive and vibrant. According to CBS sources, he would have the backing of not only the Bush family, but also conservative rock star Chris Christie:
Reflecting what many observers see as weak Republican field, the pressure on Daniels to run has been intense. He has been assured backing from big-money donors who supported George W. Bush, in addition to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, as well as top sitting Republican governors.
Sources tell CBS News popular New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has told Daniels he would back him, as would Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
And as a sign of how important his wife is to the decision, sources tell CBS News that even former First Lady Laura Bush has called Cheri Daniels personally to encourage her to support the effort and offer advice on how to define what her role on the campaign--and potentially in the White House--would be.
In a field that has so far been underwhelming, that is big news. Those are the kind of supporters that can carry one to the GOP nomination and even to the White House. Still, there's that detail that needs to be worked out first: Will Daniels decide to run?
"It's closer to a decision," Daniels told reporters after Thursday's event, a state GOP fundraising dinner. "We owe the people an answer. If we're going to do it, we have to get on the road to do it."
What does Cheri think?
"We're having a lot of talks," she said. "It's not just me. I have four daughters, and I have three sons-in-law, and everybody has a voice."
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