Daniels Remains Committed to Abortion Truce Amid Criticism

National   Steven Ertelt   Mar 14, 2011   |   11:32AM    Washington, DC

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels remains committed to the social issues-abortion truce he declared last summer despite new and continued criticism from Republicans who say social issues have to remain prominent.

Over the weekend, Daniels said the economy should remain the number one concern and added that “we’re going to have to do some very, very big things” to fix it, including getting “together people who disagree on other things” — which he says is the reason for a truce on social issues.

The potential presidential candidate admitted “I don’t know” when asked if he could run a presidential campaign based on the truce and still compete in states like Iowa and South Carolina where Republicans are strongly pro-life and conservative on social issues.

“I don’t sit around calculating the political pluses and minuses of every little word I utter,” Daniels said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I just sort of tell people what I think makes sense and I’m prepared to respect disagreements.”

He said he is no closer to making a decision about a potential presidential run but insisted he would likely wait until summertime — after the Indiana state legislature has closed up shop.

“I still think there’s time and there’s some really good people running. I like them all,” Daniels said. “I’m hoping that our party will simply step up to the issues of the day and it could be any of those folks.”

The Daniels truce received new criticism from Michigan Republican Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, who told the Daily Caller in an interview that it “constitutes an unprincipled unilateral surrender to the left that initiated and continues to wage its “culture war” against Americans’ traditional and cherished way of life.”

Daniels’ comments led some political observers, such as Washington Post writers Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake, to suggest the governor may not mount a bid for president but, instead, may be attempting to influence the debate.

“It’s hard to read those comments — particularly when compared to the far more forward-leaning remarks made by other GOPers thinking about running for the Senate — and think that Daniels is overly excited about the prospect of a national bid,” they write. “So, what exactly is he after? Looking back at Daniels’ recent public comments — and, he has made quite a few — it seems he is more interested in impacting the debate going on in the party as it heads into 2012 than in leading the GOP as its presidential nominee.”

“Add it all up and it seems as though Daniels wants to wake up the party — and the 2012 candidates specifically — to the dangers posed by placating social conservatives in the primary fight at the expense, literally, of the economy,” they write. “Maybe Daniels — a high-level political and policy thinker — can change all that if he runs. But, as of today, it doesn’t sound like he wants to.”