I have known Gov. Daniels since 1980 when I was the press secretary for a young Congressman from Huntington Indiana who was running for a Senate seat against 18-year incumbent Birch Bayh. Mitch was the chief-of-staff for the other Senator from the Hoosier State, Dick Lugar.
Mitch helped out in the closing days of that campaign and had a very positive impact on Dan Quayle becoming a U.S. Senator in that election.
I have known him for 30 years; but I don't know him. He has been kind enough to acknowledge me by name when we've been in the same place at the same time but to say I know Mitch Daniels is the equivalent of people who say things like "I had breakfast with President Obama two weeks ago" neglecting to mention there were 2,713 other people in the ballroom at the time.
Not everyone in politics thinks they need to put themselves or their families through the rigors of an 18-month campaign during which every semicolon is discussed to see if it should have been a comma, and everything that has happened in their lives becomes fodder for geniuses like me to talk about on television.
If an NFL team has a losing record, then the most popular guy in the stadium is the backup quarterback. He has not thrown an interception nor fumbled a snap from center. No one knows whether he can move the team down the field any better than the starting QB, but the fans want someone else.
I don't think Governor Daniels is through with public service but he will not be a candidate for President in 2012.
Among the sitting Republican Governors now getting some attention is the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry who was re-elected in 2010. According to one of my sources, he made an excellent impression with his speech to a meeting of Republican State Chairs the other night.
He continues to deny any interest, but let's see if Gov. Perry shows up in Iowa or New Hampshire in the next couple of weeks.