Cheri Daniels will give her first big political speech Thursday night, offering the keynote address to the Indiana Republican Party's spring dinner. Her husband, Gov. Mitch Daniels, has cautioned reporters not to read too much into the event, but his wife is widely thought to be his biggest obstacle to getting into the 2012 presidential race. Cheri Daniels is reportedly hesitant to subject herself to the media glare that comes with being a candidate's spouse, and not without reason: while anyone might find the media spotlight off-putting, Cheri Daniels also left her husband for another man in 1993, coming back to Daniels four years later.
Given that history, Cheri Daniels's "willingness to take on a public role has increased the speculation about his intentions," The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny writes. If the governor does make a bid for the Republican nomination, it will certainly come at some cost to his wife. The Washington Post's Jason Horowitz reports that some potential rivals won't hold back in digging into the Daniels' past:
"In exchange for anonymity, an official for another GOP prospect provided contact information for the ex-wife of the man Cheri Daniels married, in the years between her divorce and remarriage to Daniels. Other officials at potential rival campaigns to Daniels disagreed about whether the personal history of Cheri Daniels would ever be a vulnerability or even germane to the race. One key adviser to a potential candidate said that the guardedness the first lady had exhibited about her past signaled a lack of enthusiasm that, more than any personal baggage, would handicap her husband's chances over time. An official at another candidate's campaign said the marital history wouldn't and shouldn't matter."
As NBC News' First Read team puts it, "Gov. Daniels, welcome to the big leagues."
Daniels is not expected to talk about her marriage--it teems unlikely that the first time she'd talk about her divorce would be before an audience of 1,000, Zeleny reports. She probably won't address her husband's ambitions, either, instead talking about her experience as first lady. That experience includes getting third place in a cow-milking contest and her online chronicling of "Cheri's Chores" (pictured), in which she learns new skills, like how to be a lunch lady. At this juncture, your humble aggregator, as a lady, would like to note how much it clearly sucks to be a first lady, a job in which you're forced to pretend you like things that ladies in the 1950s didn't even like doing, like milking cows and doing chores.