Will he or won’t he?
That’s the big question looming large in the Indiana Statehouse in recent weeks as Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels toys with our curiosity about his political future and potential bid for the White House.
There are signs everywhere that he might jump in. Even though he’s ranked low in the national polls — apparently a lot people outside of Indiana don’t even know who he is — his national media presence is escalating rapidly.
Last Sunday, for example, he was quoted on the front page of The New York Times in a story about how GOP leaders were looking for someone other than a billionaire or celebrity to jump into the race.
Four days later, I got an e-mail from a researcher with National Public Radio’s news quiz show, “Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” asking me for some information on Daniels, for possible use as one of their news-of-the-week questions.
That same morning, I heard a story on NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Daniels’ speech to the American Enterprise Institute; saw his name on the Wall Street Journal website; and read this about him in a NPR political blog: “It’s still unclear, at least to those of us outside the head of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, if he will run for the Republican Party presidential nomination. Daniels gives the impression that it’s unclear to him, too.”
It seems hard to believe that it’s unclear to him, though that indeed is the impression he leaves with Statehouse reporters who ask — again and again and again — if he’ll run or when he’ll decide. It’s the first and last question that opens and closes nearly every media availability he’s had for Statehouse reporters in recent weeks.
He also leaves the impression that he’s having a little fun with the media’s frustration. According to an account in the Indianapolis Star, during his dinner speech to the American Enterprise Institute, Daniels joked about a “pajama-clad blogger” who had turned what he called a routine event into a major policy address.
Whatever you think of the governor and his policies — beloved by some, despised by others — he does have a charming self-deprecating sense of humor that should serve him well if he does decide to jump into the presidential campaign fray.
For a man who’s been called “boring,” “wonkish,” and “short” by national political writers, he’ll likely need to keep that sense of humor alive and well as he’s scrutinized and dissected in coming months if he decides to run.
Daniels has said his “will he or won’t he?” announcement could come at anytime. Until then, here’s my answer to that question: “I just don’t know.”
Maureen Hayden is statehouse bureau chief for CNHI’s Indiana newspapers. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Will he or won’t he?
- Indiana Legislature
Sentencing overhaul passes Indiana Legislature
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A sweeping overhaul of Indiana’s criminal sentencing law is on its way to Gov. Mike Pence for final approval.
Indiana lawmakers eyeing roads, preschool deals
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Votes on deals to spend heavily on new road construction and a preschool pilot program are expected to dominate the final day of this year’s legislative session in Indiana on Thursday, March 13.
Where no one follows the law
Loughmiller’s Pub across Washington Street from the Statehouse is a favorite hangout for legislators and lobbyists who like the tavern’s menu of gourmet burgers and craft beers. State police are regular lunch customers, as are state officials who regulate the sale of alcohol.
Changed wording to SJR-9 delays debate on right to hunt, fish
A much-debated ban on same-sex marriage wasn’t the only proposed constitutional amendment to get knocked off of this November’s ballot. Gone, too, is the less contentious proposal to protect Hoosiers’ right to hunt and fish.
Valley lawmakers assess legislative session’s trials, tribulations
As state legislators head into the final week of the state legislative session, five of them from the Wabash Valley met with citizens Saturday at the Vigo County Public Library in downtown Terre Haute and engaged in conversation about the “ups and downs” of the recent session.
Bill for welfare drug testing in negotiation
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two Indiana lawmakers trying to pass a bill requiring drug tests for some welfare recipients say they have passed voluntary drug tests.
Indiana lawmakers approve police education bill
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — New standards for police cultural sensitivity training and reporting of bullying-related suicides could become law pending the governor’s approval.
Same-sex marriage tax benefits up for Indiana vote
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A gay-rights coalition says it’s “deeply concerned” about a late-session Indiana proposal not to recognize same-sex marriage for tax purposes.
Olympic medalists could get Indiana tax break
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Olympic medalists from Indiana could soon get a tax break on the value of their medals and any prize money.
Indiana House backs study of teen sexual assaults
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana House is backing a plan to study the number of teen sexual assaults and rapes in the state.
Indiana State Fair 1 of only 2 without alcohol
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — This state’s distinction of having one of the last dry state fairs could end if legislation clears the Indiana House.
Senate panel limits release of Indiana roads money
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana Senate panel is limiting the amount of money that would be released from a fund for road projects in the coming year.
Indiana House committee votes to nix Common Core
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A measure to stop Indiana from using the Common Core national education standards has been advanced by a legislative panel.
Welfare drug screening stripped from Indiana bill
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A bill to require drug testing for some Indiana welfare recipients with past drug offenses no longer restricts what can be bought with government food assistance.
Conservatives angry at GOP chiefs in marriage loss
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Religious conservatives who lost Indiana’s gay marriage battle are placing the blame with Indiana’s legislative leaders.
Indiana lawmakers debate meth lab disclosure
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Houses once used as methamphetamine labs would have to be listed online under a proposal being considered by Indiana lawmakers.
Indiana Senate prepares for vote on marriage ban
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State senators are scheduled to take a final vote on a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage after approving a version last week which would put off a public referendum until at least 2016.
Indiana senators seek to restore civil unions ban
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two Republican state senators have filed amendments that could place the proposed Indiana constitutional ban on gay marriage back on track for a November referendum.
Indiana gay marriage amendment debate resuming
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana lawmakers’ debate over a proposed state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is heating up again in the Statehouse.
Legislators advancing tighter Indiana scooter rules
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The chairman of the Indiana Senate’s transportation committee says he believes a proposal to tighten regulations on motorized scooters could gain legislative approval.
Indiana House passes constitutional gay marriage ban
Indiana lawmakers pressed ahead Tuesday with an effort to outlaw gay marriage under the state constitution, but the version that cleared the House wouldn’t be able to take effect until 2016 at the earliest because of a late change leaving open the possibility of same-sex civil unions someday.
Indiana Senate committee OKs industrial hemp bill
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A state Senate committee has approved a bill that would allow Indiana farmers to grow Industrial hemp crops.
Bosma moves marriage ban to friendlier committee
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma has sent a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage to a new committee amid concerns it lacked the support needed on another panel.
Senate panel approves Indiana business tax cut bill
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana’s Senate tax committee has approved a series of tax cuts designed to aid Indiana businesses.
Vote could come next week on marriage amendment
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma says lawmakers are taking their time deciding how they’ll vote on a proposed amendment that would ban gay marriage.
Action delayed on Indiana farm trespassing bill
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana Senate committee has delayed a vote on a proposed crackdown on farm trespassers.
House panel considers personal property tax cut
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Members of the House Ways and Means Committee are pondering a locally controlled cut in the business personal property tax.
Indiana House panel considers business tax changes
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Members of the Indiana House committee are pondering a locally controlled cut in the state’s property tax on business equipment.
Indiana House panel hearing proposed gay marriage ban
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana House panel is jumping straight into the legislative battle over amending the state’s constitution to ban gay marriage.
Indiana lawmakers proposing new day care rules
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana day cares that receive federal money would face new requirements for training and staff-to-child ratios under bills three lawmakers plan to introduce in the next legislative session.
- More Indiana Legislature Headlines
- Sentencing overhaul passes Indiana Legislature