Daniels: Candidates' stances on debt will influence '12 decision

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) says he will examine other potential 2012 presidential candidates' stance on the ever-expanding national debt when deciding whether or not to enter the field,  according to the Associated Press.

A former budget director under President George W. Bush, Daniels said a lot remains unclear about the stable of potential GOP candidates who want to unseat President Obama.

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"We don't know who the field is," Daniels said last week. "We don't know exactly what they'll emphasize and what their depth of conviction and specificity of prescription will be about the problems that are bothering me, specifically the debt iceberg the nation's heading for."

Daniels has said he will decide in April whether or not to run, but his comments could provide more insight into his decision-making process. 

Daniels said his decision could be influenced if "somebody really grabs hold and is willing to deal openly and honestly with the American people about what we're up against." But he cautioned that is too early to tell if that will happen.

Should he choose to run, Daniels would be a dark horse candidate in a GOP field that could contain former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Daniels enjoys support from fiscal hawks who want drastic cuts to government spending. 

Daniels in the past has shown reluctance with regard to entering the race. 

"The simple fact is I don't plan to do; I don't expect to do it; I really don't want to do it," he said in February. 

Either way, Daniels is happy no candidate has officially entered the race.

"I think it's a wonderful, merciful phenomenon that this particular race is starting at a more human, a more appropriate time for whatever reason," Daniels said. "The American people are being spared one of these three-year campaigns that we occasionally see. It's still probably going to be too long, but at least it hasn't started yet."