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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / campaign 2012

Daniels Tells Newspaper Romney Is Too Negative

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels(Chet Susslin)

photo of Sarah Huisenga
April 19, 2012

It’s one thing to have your Democratic opponent in the White House dumping on you, but it’s another to have your friends trash-talking behind your back.  

A day after endorsing Republican Mitt Romney for president, popular Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels gave an interview to one of the state’s top political reporters in which he complained that Romney’s campaign to date is too negative and offered him some armchair pointers for becoming a better candidate.

Daniels’ comments got the attention of David Axelrod, President Obama’s political strategist, who tweeted late on Thursday: “Even Mitt's friends are warning him. Grinding negativism has its limits.”

 

In an interview with Indianapolis Star columnist Matthew Tully, Daniels, discussing the Romney campaign, said: “You have to campaign to govern, not just to win. … Spend the precious time and dollars explaining what’s at stake and a constructive program to make life better. And as I say, look at everything through the lens of folks who have yet to achieve.”

After a pause, Tully reported in his blog, Daniels added with disappointment, “Romney doesn't talk that way.”

“You don't change one thing about the policies you advocate or your principles," Daniels told Tully, adding that Romney’s message to donors shouldn’t be about how his policies affect the well-heeled but how they would help Americans trying to get on the ladder of success.

“It's not complicated,” said Daniels, who last year declined to get into the presidential contest despite encouragement from within the GOP. “But for some reason sometimes candidates just miss that.”

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