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Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is asking fellow Republicans not to count out Rick Perry. Some conservatives are disappointed with the Texas governor's performance in the latest GOP debates.

Daniels says it's too early for what he calls "last rites" over the Perry campaign, and he notes that Perry hasn't been in the race for very long. Daniels says people ought to cut Perry some slack and give him a little time.

Daniels also says he's worried that the party's nominee will end up playing it safe in light of President Barack Obama's political weakness, and merely campaign as a default option to Obama's re-election.

Daniels tells CNN's "State of the Union" that this strategy would miss the opportunity to have an in-depth discussion about government spending.

Daniels expressed in a recent interview that he has been frustrated by the discourse in the campaign, and that the field could benefit from at least one more contender. Perry's supporters have defended the Texas governor's controversial "Ponzi Scheme" statements in regards to social security, by inaccurately claiming Daniels says the same in his upcoming book, "Keeping the Republic." Daniels exact quote on the matter:

"This whole setup is enough to give Mr. Ponzi a bad name – or a legitimate job. If old Carlo were around today, he'd have made an ideal Social Security commissioner."

Commentators on the left, and some on the right, have labeled Perry's Ponzi Scheme statement as proof that the Texas governor is out of touch with the majority of Americans.

“I don’t think any of this is very helpful,” Daniels told the New York Times in regards to Perry's Ponzi scheme statement and how Romney's campaign has jumped all over it. “If there’s a problem with ‘Ponzi scheme,’ it is that it’s too frank, not that it’s wrong. But by stopping there, he might be unnecessarily scaring people.”

Daniels' kind words Sunday in reaction to Perry criticism should not be taken as an endorsement. 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. At an event that Daniels participated with Christie in New Jersey Thursday, Daniels hinted he still believes Christie will enter the race.

Mitt Romney made kind remarks in regards to Daniels, and possibly to lobby for the most sought-after GOP endorsement in 2012,  at a campaign stop in Indiana Friday. Romney told the crowd that if he were President Mitch Daniels could have any job he wanted in government.

One last thing…
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