Erika Johnsen
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Not a surprising move, but given that he's a highly popular, fiscally conservative, midwestern governor for whom quite a few people were rooting to run for president some months back, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniel's endorsement certainly shouldn't hurt Mitt Romney's election campaign. Republicans are in something of a limbo right now -- the party has all but officially selected its presidential nominee, but the primaries are far from over and Newt Gingrich is still insisting he'll stay in the race until the convention in August (and, er... Ron Paul? Are you still out there, friend?). Perhaps Daniels' endorsement will push some more conservatives to jump on the national party-unity train, which needs to leave the it's-time-to-rally-together-and-defeat-Obama station very soon (and, of course, perhaps Daniels is implicitly hinting at an interest in getting on the running-mate short-list? Anyone?).

Addendum: Speaking of Mitch Daniels as a possible contender in the Veepstakes, he's often criticized as being way too bland to make any favorable waves on the national scene. Michael Barone, however, thinks it might be wise for Mitt Romney to set up a "double-vanilla" (heh) ticket and that Daniels could be a solid choice:

Ticket-balancing suggestions have come in to Mitt Romney. He should endorse a fiery cultural conservative, some Republicans say, although he's not likely to name the undisciplined Rick Santorum. ...

Anyway, ticket-balancing is not the only successful approach, as Bill Clinton understood. When he clinched the Democratic nomination in 1992 as a Southern moderate, it was widely assumed he would pick a Northern liberal, as Jimmy Carter had.

Instead he chose a fellow Southern Baptist of his own generation with a reputation for moderation and congressional experience in national security issues, Al Gore. ...

A similar approach for Mitt Romney would be what opponents might call a double-vanilla ticket, with another white male as vice presidential nominee. ...

Two governors should make any short list, Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Bob McDonnell of Virginia. Daniels also served as budget director for Bush and is a crusader for entitlement reform. ...

...These potential vanilla running mates take conservative stands on cultural issues but are careful to show respect for those who differ. All have emphasized economics in their campaigns and have run especially well in affluent suburbs, as Romney has in Republican primaries.

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Erika Johnsen

Erika Johnsen is a Web Editor for Townhall.com and Townhall Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @erikajohnsen.