Mitch Daniels Bows Out, Changes Dynamic of 2012 Race

After months of doing the Hoosier version of the hokey pokey and putting one foot in and one foot out of the 2012 presidential race, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a darling of the mainstream media and conservative establishment, announced on Sunday that he would not seek the Republican nomination for president.

In a statement obtained by the Indianapolis Star, Daniels said that “over the last year and a half, a large and diverse group of people have suggested to me an idea that I never otherwise would have considered, that I run for President” but that he “will not be a candidate.”

According to Daniels, “what could have been a complicated decision was in the end very simple: on matters affecting us all, our family constitution gives a veto to the women’s caucus, and there is no override provision.”

“Simply put,” Daniels said, “I find myself caught between two duties. I love my country; I love my family more.”

Daniels expressed that he was “deeply concerned, for the first time in my life, about the future of our Republic” and that he hopes to have a part in the conversation going forward.

This summer, Daniels will have a chance to do so as he will release a book he authored on the country’s debt crisis.

And while Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are immediate winners in the wake of Daniels’ decision, other candidates hoping to benefit from Daniels’ announcement seized upon his signature issue — the debt — in praising him.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who  is touring New Hampshire and has the chance to appeal to independents and the type of voters who may have found Daniels appealing, said, “Mitch Daniels will be missed in this presidential debate, but his message about the most immediate threat facing our nation — this massive debt — will not go unheard.”

“Our country owes Gov. Daniels unending gratitude for his service,” Huntsman added in a statement. “And the steadfast manner in which he’s shined a light on the crippling debt that we will leave behind for future generations if it’s not addressed.”

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is announcing his presidential run today in Iowa, also focused on the debt in praising Daniels.

“Mitch and I agree that America’s out-of-control national debt is a threat to our nation’s future, and that the next president must restore fiscal responsibility in Washington, DC.,” Pawlenty said.