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Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels sat down for a lengthy interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep on Morning Edition today. The conversation covered Daniels’s stance on privatizing government services, bargaining with unions, running for Presidentand his reputation as President George W. Bush’s budget director. You can listen to it here.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has spent months fueling speculation that he’ll seek the Republican nomination for President in 2012. He made what may be his boldest statement this week in an interview with Politico. He told the D.C. news outlet that he would have the money and support to win the election, but his wife’s concerns may keep him out of the race.

“If I were to decide to do this, we would have an unbelievable letterhead,” Daniels predicted in a POLITICO interview Wednesday, lighting up as the hour-long conversation turned to why he could win.

“I don’t know if we’d raise the most, but for whatever reason, there are an awful lot of people standing by who I think know how to do this a lot better than I do,” he said, noting that he’s being pushed to run by an array of business types and political figures.

Daniels’s path to run is clearer now than ever, since Indiana Congressman Mike Pence decided not to run.

With Congressman Mike Pence out of the running for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, Republican Hoosiers’ are once again looking to Governor Mitch Daniels. In a search for my last post on Daniels, I stumbled on an article from last week that I apparently missed.

From Politico:

If pundits and columnists represented the GOP base, Mitch Daniels would be the odds-on favorite for the presidential nomination in 2012.

The Indiana governor has been showered with favorable coverage from political thinkers and analysts in recent months, most of which heaped praise on his thoughtful and principled approach to governing while celebrating his serious yet down-to-earth mien.

And here’s an update from the northwest.

Daniels led the local speculation for much of last year, but he’s kept a lower profile for the last few months as Pence took the spotlight.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Congressman Mike Pence are both considering seeking the GOP nomination for president in 2012.

Both are undecided on whether they will run. This news may inspire them to either stay home or get moving:

…there was a straw poll last weekend of the New Hampshire Republican Party people who gathered in Derry for their annual meeting.

Manchester’s WMUR and ABC News conducted the poll, in which 273 of 500 eligible GOP attendees voted.

The results: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has a house on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee, got 35 percent of the votes cast. And Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and father of Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., came in second with 11 percent.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty came next with 8 percent, former Alaska Gov. and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin drew 7 percent, Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachman and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint each got 5 percent, and tea party leader Herman Cain took 4 percent.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence of 6th District, who have not closed the door(s) on running, were among the 3 percenters.

 

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has been making the media rounds again. He told CNN he’s “intrigued” by the prospect of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels running for president in 2012. Daniels worked in the Bush White House, and Cheney says he should do for the nation what he did for Indiana. (Indiana residents: what are your thoughts on that prospect?)

Daniels is one of two Hoosiers who are considering seeking the GOP nomination. The other is Congressman Mike Pence.

The “America’s President Committee” (led by former Kansas Representative Jim Ryun) has launched a web petition encouraging Indiana Congressman Mike Pence (a Republican) to run for President. Pence is expected to decide whether to run this week, but as Politico reports, he may opt to run for Governor instead. Current Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is also on the list of possible GOP Presidential candidates.

The two Hoosiers in the pool of possible Republican Presidential candidates are in the headlines this week.

First, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is profiled in the New York Times:

Of all the Republicans talking about the deficit these days, Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana, has arguably the most credibility.

[edit]

I recently sat down with him in his office to talk about what small government might actually look like. To be clear, it would be very different from the Tea Party dream, in which taxes could be cut;Medicare, Social Security and the military could be left untouched; and the deficit would somehow vanish. Mr. Daniels is willing to acknowledge as much.

Next, Politico reports that Representative Mike Pence will give the keynote address at the Awakening Conference’s annual black-tie dinner:

The conference—which in previous years has been held at the exclusive golf resort known as The Cloisters in Sea Island, Ga.—is an invitation-only gathering of conservative pols, thinkers and activists that was originally designed to counter the Renaissance Weekend, an event they characterized as a gathering of liberal elites. Former President Bill Clinton co-chaired that gathering in the past, but it has featured guests from both sides of the aisle.

Awakening has a history in presidential politics: In early 2007, it was the forum Romney used to try to explain away the moderate social positions he adopted as Massachusetts governor before pivoting into a presidential run that officially kicked off shortly afterward.


Changes could be made to the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky, Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer are touting a proposed set of changes to the project. The changes would shrink the ORBP, but two new bridges and a revamped Spaghetti Junction would still be in the plan.

The leaders have proposed keeping Spaghetti Junction in its current location, making the east end bridge four lanes instead of six and cutting bike lanes from the proposed downtown bridge in favor of the pedestrian-only Big Four Bridge. The proposed changes could cut half a billion dollars from the project.

Both states and the bi-state Bridges Authority will host a conference next month to find other ways to cut costs. Mayor Fischer says that may satisfy those citizens who have said the $4.1 billion project is too expensive.

“The project is costly as it is right now,” he says. “But some preliminary things have identified at least a half billion dollars or so and I would certainly hope as we pull the best minds in the world together on this thing that we can save more money than that as well.”

Fischer also says tolls should not be placed on the Sherman Minton or Clark Memorial Bridges. The group Say No To Bridge Tolls has called the proposed changes a victory.  Members further hope no tolls will be placed on the Kennedy Bridge and that the project will be built in phases. The Bridges Authority previously opposed that suggestion.

We’re pursuing more on this, but here’s a quick update…

Governor Steve Beshear‘s office sent out an announcement this morning saying he, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer are planning to “explore options that could reduce the cost of the Ohio River Bridges Project by more than $500 million and still keep the entire two-bridge construction plan on track.”

From the Governor’s office:

The major cost savings for the project, which currently has an estimated price tag of $4 billion, could come from changes in these key areas:

  • Rebuilding Spaghetti Junction in the existing location rather than move it south
  • Reducing the East End bridge, roadway and tunnel from six lanes to four lanes, with the option to add two lanes later if traffic demand warrants
  • Completing the Big Four Bridge pedestrian walkway and bike path as an alternative to including pedestrian and bike paths on the new downtown bridge

In addition, the Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority will explore other cost-saving solutions in design, construction and financing by soliciting private-sector ideas at an industry innovation forum next month.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (who hasn’t had the best press lately) have long been friends. That could be a problem if they both decide to run for President.

From Politico:

Not “friends” in the political sense, the way fellow senators disingenuously refer to one another during floor debate, but pals who truly like each other, and have a long-standing, personal relationship. It’s a nontransactional friendship that’s uncommon in the rarefied air of national politics.

Barbour and Daniels first became close as 30-somethings working in the Reagan White House, where Barbour served as political director and Daniels headed up the inter-governmental affairs shop.

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