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Students for Mitch Daniels surges after CPAC speech

If a new student political action committee gets its way, Indiana governor Mitch Daniels will be drafted to run for president in 2012.

The group, the Student Initiative to Draft Daniels, was formed by four Yale students over the summer of 2010 and has aired two advertisements encouraging Daniels to run. After the governor’s speech at CPAC, the group has seen a 20 chapter surge, on top of approximately 40 existing chapters.

Yale senior Max Eden, and president of the Students Initiative to draft Daniels, said the fact Daniels spoke at CPAC last week may be a sign of an announcement.

“On one hand I don’t know how you can give a speech like and not,” Eden said “On the other hand, still people came out of that room thinking, ‘Oh, wow this guy needs to run for president, but I don’t know if he will.’”

Michael Knowles, political director for Students for Daniels and a junior at Yale, said there isn’t much choice for the Republican party.

Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, he says, has put himself out of the race with his state’s healthcare system, a system Obama based the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on; former governor Sarah Palin has isolated herself from any possibility; and congressman Mike Pence has remained quiet on a presidential bid, and may run for Daniels’ seat as governor of Indiana.

But not all Republicans are demanding Daniels. Former Pennsylvania senator, Rick Santorum, has decried Daniels for wanting to call a ‘truce’ on social issues in order to focus on fiscal policy.

“Rick Santorum can say what he wants,” Knowles said, days before the national debt amounted to the U.S. economy – $15 trillion. “The American people don’t want to wax philosophical right now.”

Which is why the Student Initiative to draft Daniels believe Mitch is their man. Knowles said Daniels has a history of cutting deficits and debt – transforming a $600 million deficit into a $300 million surplus in a single year.

Some consider the student-led group’s ads to be the first campaign commercial for the 2012 presidential race. The ads focus on Daniels’ debt cutting prowess and the state of the economy. Daniels’ ability to cut the budget as theBush administration’s director of Office of Management and Budget earned him the nickname “The Blade.”

The Student Initiative to Draft Daniels’ first advertisement compared President Obama to a money-spending ex-boyfriend, contrasted with Daniels’ fiscal responsibility. The group’s second video, which aired in Washington D.C during CPAC, features political celebrity and presidential candidate Jimmy McMillian, who ran for New York governor on “The Rent is too Damn High” party ticket during New York’s 2010 gubernatorial election.

In it, two students are looking for a slogan for Daniels’ 2012 campaign. McMillian advises saying, “The deficit is too damn high. You’ve got a president just throwing money away. Alabama, here, take this. Florida, take that…Americans are being treated like Third World people. The deficit is too damn high!”

McMillian announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination at CPAC last week. So far, Daniels  hasn’t announced if he’ll run for president.

McMillian, a registered Democrat, announced he will run for president on the Republican ticket at CPAC in order to prevent competing with President Obama. Daniels has yet to make an announcement.

“He’s not about flair, he’s about doing his job,” Knowles said.

Michael Mayday is a staff writer for the Hillsdale Collegian. He is a member of the Student Free Press Association.

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