The first scheduled debate amongst the prospective candidates running for the Republican Party nomination for President in 2012 will take place in just seven weeks, a joint effort NBC News & Politico, and will take place at the Reagan Library in Southern California.
Now can we get some candidates to be a part of it?
Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty are sure to announce soon, and Newt Gingrich...well, who knows what he will do considering the firestorm of criticism he's received for his lame excuse for why he's cheated on his wive(s)- but aides say supposedly he will announce in April.
A sexy choice for policy-wonks is the very nondescript Governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels, who declined to tell Chuck Todd on Sunday's Meet The Press what his plans are yet, but he is absolutely not ruling out a run.
Daniels is an big time deficit hawk, as all of the other GOP candidates are clamoring to be as considered as well. Though he has to answer for the fact that he presided in the Bush administration as they began blowing up the federal deficit that only after Barack Obama's election became the major crises in our politics, Daniels begrudgingly admitted when asked by Todd if the lesson about the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan that passed in 2003 is that there wasn't money to pay for it, said, ""yeah, don't offer what you can't pay for. That'd be a good principle to return to in the federal government."
Todd also challenged Daniels about the GOP mantra that cutting debt will be a boost for job creation, mentioning that though Daniels has done plenty to balance his budget in his two terms running the Hoosier State, in fact unemployment is pretty high there; Daniels responded:
GOV. DANIELS: You could put up that same graphic for probably 48 or 49 states in America. A national, catastrophic recession will do that to you. Before that recession started, we were at essentially full employment. It was well below what it had been when we got there. But, listen, you do what you can do. On every measure—everybody's survey, everybody's rating—of a great place to invest and do business and create jobs, Indiana is now in the top tier. It's the only state anywhere in our neighborhood. It's basically us and a few Sunbelt western states. And that's what government can do, create the best conditions you can. But just as tsunamis overwhelm the best preparations, so do economic tidal waves like the one that we experienced and which we're still recovering from.
In his first day in office in 2005, Daniels signed an order ending collective bargaining with public employee unions. He said it freed him to turn over some state jobs to private contractors. Because Indiana is a right-to-work state, that move obviously was made with considerably less fanfare than what is still happening in Wisconsin and their GOP Governor, Scott Walker. Daniels told Chuck Todd that he does believe in collective bargaining, just not for public employees.