Daniels: Not 'too late' to run in '12

He also singled out the new "Mitch Daniels Scholarships," which allow high-school students who finish a year early to use the savings from their senior year on their first year of college tuition.

The Republican noted that many of his reforms were "strongly supported" by the Obama administration. "I salute the president, [Education] Secretary Duncan. They're right about these things," he said.

While the Democrats have "shown a lot of leadership in this area," he said, "we don't agree on everything."

Daniels also praised the operation ordered by President Obama that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. "Well done, well handled," he said.

Meanwhile, some observers say that Daniels has been frustrated that his education reforms were overshadowed in recent weeks. Reporters have instead focused on speculation about him running for president and his decision to sign a bill that defunds Planned Parenthood in Indiana.

Daniels decision to highlight his accomplishments in Washington could be an indication he's edging toward a presidential run. In 2000, then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush made education the centerpiece of his first successful presidential campaign.

--Updated at 3:49 p.m.