Students Run Ad Urging Mitch Daniels to Run for President

The Indiana governor has generated buzz as a potential 2012 candidate in part by coming off as the anti-Obama, a self-effacing man whose charm lies in his very lack of it. He has built an image as a fiscal conservative who cuts government waste without regret, which could play well with the GOP base. His call for a "truce" on social issues like abortion, however, angered the social conservative wing of the party. Mitch Daniels Garners 2012 Presidential Buzz More Coverage on Mitch Daniels
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One of the first ads of the 2012 Republican presidential primary is for a candidate who has yet to jump in the race.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is term-limited out of office this year, has generated presidential buzz for a while, though he has yet to make a decision on a presidential bid.

That isn't stopped Students for Mitch Daniels, a political action committee founded by Yale student and former Obama supporter Max Eden, from launching an ad urging Daniels to run. The ad is slated to air in Iowa and New Hampshire -- two early-nominating states -- as well as Indiana. The ad will run during this Sunday's NFL Pro Bowl, the Wall Street Journal reports.

In the 30-second ad, a young woman bemoans meeting "this guy" a couple years ago.

"He told me he was different. He bought me a car, he even subsidized my medical insurance," she says, referring to President Obama's "cash for clunkers" program and health care reform.

"Everything was perfect. Until I got my credit card bill," she continues. "It turned he was spending all of my money!" (According to the Congressional Budget Office, the health care reform legislation actually saves $230 billion over a decade.)

The woman says the "new man" in her life is Mitch Daniels.

"He doesn't need to rely on fancy rhetoric or empty promises," she says. "You know what he's all about? Fiscal responsibility."

At the end of the ad, a narrator says, "Mitch Daniels did NOT approve this message. Tell him to."

The Journal reports that Daniels laughed when told about the ad, saying, "That sounds pretty cute, actually" -- but he played down its reach.

The conservative buzz surrounding Daniels stems from his record as governor in Indiana, where he has kept the state in relatively sound fiscal condition with moves like reducing the number of state workers and raising sales taxes. He angered social conservatives, however, when he suggested a "truce" on social issues. Mike Huckabee, another potential 2012 contender, complained that Daniels' position was to "stop fighting to end abortion and don't make protecting traditional marriage a priority."

Daniels may have more incentive to jump into the race now that his fellow Indiana Republican, Rep. Mike Pence, has announced he's not running for president. A favorite among social conservatives, Pence was also considered a possible presidential contender but is now expected to run for governor.