Daniels calls it a ‘happy surprise’ and a ‘blessing’ that the Republican primary still wide open

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter

Speaking at American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, Mitch Daniels called it a “happy surprise” that even though it was already May, there was still time for new candidates to enter the Republican primary.

“I think that even people far more sage than I about the political and presidential processes very surprised that on May the 4th it’s not already far too late,” he said.

“I consider that, from the standpoint of the public, a blessing,” he continued. “Unless you’re a political professional or running a bed and breakfast in New Hampshire, that’s a darn good thing that we’ll have a nominating campaign measured in months and not years.”

Daniels reiterated that the session of the Indiana legislature that ended Friday has been his top priority, and that had the clock run out on being able to enter the presidential race before the legislative session had ended, he would have accepted that.

“The idea of me becoming one of the aspirants isn’t something I was prepared to consider while we were dealing with this,” he said, referring to the education reforms that were the subject of his speech.

He had even been prepared to extend the legislative session, if need be, owing to a five week delay when Democrats in the state legislature fled.

“I really thought it might become too late somewhere along the line,” he said. “But for whatever reason it appears not to be. And, again, I think that’s a happy surprise.”

With the exception of this statement, the conversation did not turn to 2012. Daniels is expected to announce his decision in the coming weeks.