Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, the economic Mr. Fix-it who rebuffed GOP pleas to get into the presidential race, says President Obama's policies are so out of touch that even a candidate he discounted a year ago—Texas Gov. Rick Perry—can win.
Asked at a media roundtable today about some GOP concerns that Perry isn't electable nationally, Daniels says, "If you had asked me that question a year ago, I would have said I like Rick Perry, and I think he's been a good governor, but I don't think that will fly nationally." But he adds,. "the situation has become so grave and the failures of current policy so obvious that I think all kinds of people could be elected," added the plain-spoken governor who was Ronald Reagan's political director.
Daniels, who bowed to family pressure in deciding not to get into the presidential race, said that Perry's years as governor have made him a good leader and a likely good president. "I think anybody who's been governor of a significant state for a long time has a pretty good start," says Daniels. "I don't think he can be dismissed at all on readiness."
Overall, Daniels said that the economy has been so bad for so long that he finds it hard to seen how Obama can win re-election. And he blames Obama's inexperience for the plight of the nation.
In a rare blast at Obama, Daniels says, "I do believe that the president's life has been so far removed from the world in which jobs and wealth and prosperity are made that he doesn't understand and probably cannot understand how damaging his policies are to the economic prospects of the country. He just inhabits a different planet."
Worse, he said, the president arrived with the wrong set of skills. "He hadn't been well matched at all. He did come into an economic emergency, but I think he came in with unfortunately just the wrong set of biases and policy instincts," says Daniels.
He did give Obama credit for running a good 2008 campaign, being devoted to his family and even handling foreign policy well.
But he says that voters were given an empty promise of change by a candidate who couldn't deliver. In fact, he makes fun of Obama's "change" mantra in his new book, Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans. He played off the "change" theme with a chapter titled "Change that believes in you."
Mocking the change theme, Daniels says, "'Change you can believe in,' what does that mean? It doesn't mean anything. It's in the eye of the beholder, it's an empty vessel."
He added that the change them is a "non-specific charisma campaign" and something he hopes the GOP doesn't copy in the 2012 election. "The situation is way to urgent for that."
Daniels spoke at a media roundtable sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor and he cheered the group of mostly newspaper and magazine writers by declaring, "I'm a print guy."
See Daniels talk about Obama coming from a different planet here.