Weekly Standard Profile Building Mitch Daniels 2012 Buzz

Is Gov. Mitch Daniels testing the presidential waters?


By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

There’s no question that Mitch Daniels fever is starting to grow in Washington as Republicans look for a proven manager with corporate experience to run against President Obama in 2012. While saying he’s not interested in running, the two-term Indiana governor and former Reagan and George W. Bush aide who was also an Eli Lilly & Company exec has been taking the standard steps toward testing the presidential waters.

Among the moves was his interview with and subsequent long profile in the current Weekly Standard. Smartly written by senior editor Andrew Ferguson, the 8,700-word piece was a walk through Daniels’ life and political style, much of which is known.

But it’s the two paragraphs of “opposition research” near the end revealing his “happy endings” marriage that has many of those supporting him in Washington buzzing. The reason: They didn’t know that he and his wife had divorced then fairly quickly remarried. Daniels calls it the perfect love story in the excerpt below, though his supporters don’t know what to make of it other than to say congratulations for keeping the family together.

Here’s what Ferguson wrote:

When the oppo researchers and the national press do get around to opening up Daniels’s life for inspection, they will find a few embarrassments. One is his arrest in 1970 for marijuana possession when he was a student at Princeton. He spent two nights in jail and paid a $350 fine, and later wrote about the bust in a column for the Star in 1989. More painfully, he and his wife Cheri divorced in 1994. She moved to California, leaving Daniels with the four daughters, aged 8 to 14, and married a doctor. She divorced again and moved back to Indiana. She and Mitch remarried in 1997.

Cheri has never spoken about this publicly, and from what I can tell it’s been mentioned in print only twice. Daniels’s only comment was to the Indianapolis Star in 2004: ‘If you like happy endings, you’ll love our story.’