Mitch Daniels would 'disconnect the phone' if Romney called with VP offer

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, frequently mentioned as a potential vice presidential candidate, is the latest Republican leader to unambiguously state that he will not be Mitt Romney’s running mate.

“If I thought that call was coming, I would disconnect the phone,” Daniels said in an interview with Fox News on Monday.

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When asked if the Romney campaign had contacted him during its vetting process, Daniels responded, “of course not,” and added that it’s “not an office I want to hold, expect to hold, have any plans to hold.”

Before the primary season kicked off, there was some speculation that Daniels, widely viewed as one of the party’s strongest fiscal conservatives, would make a bid for the party’s presidential nomination.

But in his eighth and final year as governor of Indian, Daniels hinted that he might retire permanently from public office.

“We ought to give some time to public service, try to pay back a little rent to this country,” Daniels said. “But my goal has always been to do the best I could and then go back to private life.”

Most potential candidates try to remain coy about the prospects of being added to the party’s ticket, not wanting to seem overly eager or overly disinterested in the position, but Daniels is the second high-profile candidate in the last two weeks to seemingly remove himself from consideration.

Last week, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty told the Minnesota Star Tribune to “take my name off the list” of potential vice presidential candidates.

“I'm going to take my name off the list, so if ... you're a journalist, an observer, remove my name from the list,” Pawlenty said. “I went through it before with [John] McCain.”

The Arizona senator famously passed over perceived safer options like Pawlenty in favor of then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

 Pawlenty was viewed as a formidable Republican presidential candidate upon entering the race in 2011, but was the first candidate to exit.

He has since endorsed Romney and become one of the campaign’s most visible surrogates, and many believed he was the kind of plain-vanilla vice presidential candidate the Romney campaign was looking for.