Riding a surplus

"Riding a surplus" Continued...

Issue: "New faces of New Orleans," Aug. 15, 2009

For his 2004 campaign, Daniels drove across the state in an RV. He stayed in people's homes and wrote a blog as he learned how the rural sections and small towns had suffered from population drift to bigger cities. In 2008 he won reelection by picking up a large number of Barack Obama voters, as Obama became the first Democrat to carry Indiana for the presidency since 1964.

Speculation for the 2012 presidential race (when his gubernatorial term in office ends) is inevitable, but Daniels has officially shut the door on a presidential run. Notre Dame's Robert Schmuhl, who teaches journalism and American Studies, thinks that Daniels' record could keep him in speculation as a possible candidate. "He's won twice in Indiana and changed the direction of the state," Schmuhl said. "He's a very good campaigner and deceptively so. He is not out of central casting. Yet he is very able as a political candidate."

Daniels grew up in Indianapolis, attended Princeton, received his law degree from Georgetown. He was an adviser in the Reagan White House and director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush. But those who've known him all along never envisioned him running for office, winning on his first try, or becoming one of the most effective recent governors in the state. So he might surprise everyone if he changes his mind about the presidency.

Russ Pulliam
Russ Pulliam

Russ is a columnist for The Indianapolis Star, the director of the Pulliam Fellowship, and a member of God's World Publications' board of directors.


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