Mitch Daniels received high marks for his response to the State of the Union address last night, which is likely to increase speculation about him making a late entry into the presidential race. Intrade now considers Daniels a more likely GOP nominee than actual candidate Rick Santorum.
I profiled Daniels for the print edition and think his record has a lot to recommend it. But the first time a Daniels candidacy was floated, he didn’t exactly catch fire with the base. He offended social conservatives by calling for a truce on their issues, he annoyed national security conservatives by putting military spending on the table for cuts and suggesting some of our overseas commitments needed to be reevaluated, and economic conservatives disliked his flirtation with a VAT. Daniels was polling about 1 percent.
Obviously, that will all need to be dealt with — assuming Daniels even wants to run, which is doubtful — if Daniels is to avoid the fate of Jon Huntsman. A late entrant would have to be able to win primaries and amass delegates fairly quickly. A candidate who nobody voted on who was simply imposed by the establishment at the convention would have no legitimacy.
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