At a campaign stop in Indiana, Republican 2012 hopeful Mitt Romney did not avoid praising popular governor, and to many party insiders ideal Presidential candidate, Mitch Daniels. The popular Indiana governor and former OMB director was out of the state for a book tour. Speaking before a crowd of 400 party activists Friday, CBS news reports that Romney took no shame in making flattering references towards Daniels:
"'Where's Mitch in your government?' one gladhander wondered. 'Wherever he'd like to be,"'answered Romney. 'Mitch is an extraordinarily capable guy.'"
POLITICO notes that Romney's nice comments of Daniels may have more significance than just complimentary praise in the governor's home state. Reports surfaced Saturday that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been rethinking his repeated refusal to run for President in 2012, and has reportedly met to discuss the matter with major New York donors as well as Daniels this week. Daniels participated at an event with Christie in New Jersey Thursday, during which Daniels hinted he still believes Christie will enter the race:
"Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana appeared Thursday at a forum sponsored by Rider University in Lawrenceville.
Both said in response to one student's question that their decisions not to run for president were made with their families.
But Daniels isn't ready to accept Christie's answer, saying he believes Christie's 'no' means 'not yet."
Daniels indicated to the New York Times last Sunday that he has occasionally been frustrated by the discourse in the campaign, and said that the field could benefit from at least one more contender whose candidacy was rooted in a message of fiscal discipline.
If a candidate, Christie poses a threat to garner support from a significant portion of center-right Romney backers, and conservative policy intellectuels fond of Daniels who have been hesitant in getting behind any individual candidate in the current field.
After announcing in May that he would not run for President following the end of his term as governor next year, Daniels has been one of the most sought-after endorsements of 2012.