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Wednesday, May 4, 2011 5:13 p.m.

Mitch Daniels: ‘I have no presidential ambitions’

Indiana governor Mitch Daniels has yet to reach a decision on a 2012 presidential bid he said Wednesday at a GW College Republican event. Becky Crowder | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Reid Davenport.

The governor of Indiana hinted Wednesday he may make a presidential run, but the Republican played coy like many other rumored GOP candidates, saying his final decision is weeks away.

“I have no presidential ambitions,” Daniels said, while adding that a bid for the Oval Office “might be something I decide I should do.”  Daniels called former President George W. Bush to discuss the option earlier this week.

The 62-year-old governor has repeatedly shied away from making an announcement on his White House plans, though he is widely regarded as one of 2012′s most promising Republican candidates.

While speaking to members of the College Republicans, Daniels stressed fiscal responsibility, saying the U.S. is in very serious financial jeopardy. But the former Director of the Office of Management and Budget under Bush said the national debt is a fixable problem.

Congress should make “meaningful, not cosmetic and not trivial, reductions in spending,” Daniels said. “That’s the least that can be done to acknowledge the difficulty we’re in and the fact that the Democrats are also committed to avoiding a debt catastrophe.”

The governor also praised President Barack Obama for the recent killing of al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden.

“I think he’s due a lot of credit; we’re all pleased with his progress,” Daniels said. “I hope that it’s followed up by more successes in the struggle against terrorism.”

A poll released Tuesday by the New York Times and CBS shows Obama’s approval rating at 57 percent, up from 46 last month.

“By itself, it probably won’t be a transforming event,” Daniels said. “There’s still big problems to deal with. Unemployment’s still very high, gas still costs four dollars and we’re still facing really a very alarming debt situation.”

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