Daniels: No Second Thoughts on Bowing Out of Presidential Race

ABC News’ Arlette Saenz ( @arlettesaenz ) reports:

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told reporters after a financial summit in Washington, D.C., that he and his family have had no second thoughts about his decision to not enter the presidential race.

“Well they’re not going to, and I know I haven’t had any second thoughts,” Daniels said.

Daniels viewed the current Republican field as adequate but said additional candidates could elevate the debate.

“The more the merrier, and if others get in, I think that’s good," he said. "I think that a very vigorous contest of ideas about how we re-affirm the promise of this country is a really good thing, and I think my party would benefit from a really diverse debate.”

“I think there’s some excellent people there. If the field doesn’t get any better, there are plenty of people there I think who could be quite excellent spokesmen for what needs doing.”

Daniels commended Rep. Paul Ryan, saying his budget proposal “grounded in reality” and called on skeptics to produce plans of their own.

“You don’t have to agree with it, but it is much more firmly grounded in reality than the president’s budget for instance or anybody else’s,” Daniels said. “I’m open to almost anything that addresses this problem. I think it’s implicit in that that if you disagree with somebody’s prescription, then the price of entry into the debate is something at least as big and as credible, and most of Paul Ryan’s critics haven’t produced anything of their own, and that’s the least responsible thing you can do.”

If Daniels had decided to run, he said he would have presented a program aiming to preserve Medicare and Social Security for people currently benefiting from the programs while also crafting “Medicare 2.0 and Social Security 2.0” for future generations as well as examining and reducing federal government to an affordable level.

During his appearance at the financial summit, Daniels warned that the American people should not be blamed for the state of Medicare or entitlement programs.

“Please don’t blame the American people for their apparent reluctance to deal with these things. Most of them simply have never been told the facts, no one has explained to them the current system leads to the plundering of the next generation and I honestly believe that we can as a republic deal with these issues before the worst happens.”

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