February 25, 2011


Flashback Gives Glimpse of Daniels Political Skills (Erin McPike, 2/25/11, Real Clear Politics)

In the same way, Daniels came out swinging in his Jan. 4, 1987, appearance on CNN's "Evans and Novak," to such an extent that Evans sought out Anthony Dolan, who served President Reagan as chief speechwriter for his entire presidency, and urged him to view Daniels's appearance.

The reason, Dolan said, was what Evans told him: "It was one of the finest performances by a political operative they had ever seen, particularly one that he and Bob Novak were deliberately trying to trap or embarrass."

In introducing Daniels on the program, Novak mentioned the scandal and the GOP's heavy losses and said, "Nobody has been closer to the situation than Mitch Daniels, an architect of President Reagan's activist campaign to try to save the Senate last year."

A calm and unflinching Daniels handled the pair's questions about the GOP's positioning ahead of the 1988 election by noting that the Republican Party had a built-in advantage with an Electoral College that tilted in favor of the party.

"I don't see a Democrat, an individual potential nominee, who I find all that frightening for next time. They've got big problems of their own to solve, as we do," he continued.

And in a line that his potential campaign is almost certain to trot out again, he defended President Reagan when Novak asked him if Reagan's presidency was on the skids as his administration barreled into its final two years.

"I think the point there is that conservatives who owe their entire political existence to Ronald Reagan may have lost heart and lost gumption, but he hasn't," he said. "There's a big agenda yet to be completed. And just because maybe you folks are tired of writing about SDI [the Strategic Defense Initiative], or the Central America freedom fighter issue, does not mean that those agenda items have been completed. On the contrary, there are some big-ticket items yet to be addressed and defended."

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 25, 2011 8:23 AM
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