Well, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels will be president after all. President of Purdue University, that is.
After speculation bubbled last year that he might be the ideal Republican candidate to run for president in this year's election, Daniels eventually announced a year ago May that he had decided against a bid out of concern over the impact on his wife and four daughters.
Speculation again bubbled up after Daniels made the Republican rebuttal speech following President Obama's State of the Union address that he might be a prime candidate for vice president or might perhaps consider serving in the cabinet of a new Republican president. But Daniels maintained it was “very improbable” that would happen.
This week's appointment to take over for France Cordova, who will step down in July after five years as Purdue's president, seems to match Daniels' desire to stay close to his family obligations while moving on past his final term as governor in a position that could well serve Indiana and his commitment to higher education.
The two-term Indiana governor and former director of the White House budget office under President George W. Bush was unanimously approved as Purdue's 12th president on Thursday. While he's a former Eli Lilly executive and has a Princeton bachelor's degree and Georgetown law degree, Daniels has virtually no experience working in academia.
“I don't even know what I don't know yet. All I know is there's a lot I don't know,” he told about 100 students at an afternoon gathering on campus.
He said his appointment means he won't be involved in partisan politics after making one last out-of-state appearance this weekend.
“No campaigning, no commenting about anybody's campaigning — in the state or out state or anywhere else — no fundraising, nothing. I won't be a delegate to the national convention,” he said.
Daniels, 63, will take office in January once his second term as governor expires.