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Gov. Daniels trying to ‘recruit’ a new GOP presidential candidate

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said Monday that he’s “tried to recruit three or four people” to run for the Republican presidential nomination, and criticized the current field of candidates for failing to present a credible plan to address the budget crisis.

“They should campaign to govern, not just win an election,” Daniels told The New York Times. “The candidate I could get instantly excited about is someone who is willing to level with the American people and assume they are prepared to listen to the mathematical facts and agree that whatever other disagreements we have aren’t as important.”

{mosads}Daniels did not disclose the prospective candidates he has urged to get in the race, but said he had been frustrated watching the performance of the current presidential hopefuls.

Daniels, a fiscal conservative who served as director of the Office of Management and Budget for President George W. Bush, said he believes the current field of GOP candidates needs to be “more candid and honest” in addressing issues such as entitlement programs. Daniels specifically criticized the back-and-forth between current front-runners Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over Social Security, indicating he doesn’t see a real plan for reform in the midst of their bickering.

Perry described Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme,” a phrase Romney has said indicates Perry wants to abolish rather than reform the entitlement program.

“If there’s a problem with ‘Ponzi scheme,’ it is that it’s too frank, not that it’s wrong. But by stopping there, he might be unnecessarily scaring people,” Daniels said. “I don’t think any of this is very helpful.”

Daniels said he doesn’t regret choosing not to jump into the race himself earlier this year, but he believes there is still time for another candidate to get into the race and have a “competitive chance” to win.

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