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Purdue University President Mitch Daniels.
Purdue University President Mitch Daniels.Dannon Cummings / Pool via AFP-Getty Images file

Former GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels says he hasn't 'really thought' about his political future

The former Indiana Gov. and Washington budget veteran says polarization will fade with the right nominees and leaders.


Former Indiana Gov. and Purdue University president Mitch Daniels says he hasn't lost hope that extreme political polarization in the U.S. can abate in the coming years.

"We're trying to do some things to make this state better, stronger, a place of more opportunity for people to rise," Daniels said in an interview on the latest episode of the "ChuckToddcast."

"And anybody who wants to help with that is welcome," he added about efforts he's been involved with in Indiana. "I gotta believe there's still room at the national level for some sort of appeal like that," he added.

The biggest impediment for such a national figure, Daniels says, is the presence of party primaries that lead to the nomination of extreme candidates.

"Somebody's got to be able to come to the leadership of one of our parties, navigate a nominating process that's not friendly to that sort of appeal," Daniels said.

He added, "But if somebody — and I predict that sooner or later this will happen — can navigate the nominating process of one party or the other, who really wants to start us back on the path toward greater common purpose and unity as a country, then I haven't given up that that can happen."

Daniels ended a two-term run as governor in Indiana in 2012 and has been the president of Purdue University since 2003. He recently announced that he would step down from the position next month.

There's been speculation that he could run for elected office again, especially as Indiana Sen. Mike Braun announced he'll run for governor in 2024, leaving an open Senate seat.

When asked by Todd what his political future might hold, Daniels listed a number of issues facing the country that need to be solved — the national debt, keeping social safety net programs funded and polarization.

But, he said, "Those are three reasons that a person might want to try to find some role, recognizing that one person can only do a little bit. But whether that role is elected politics, or something else, I haven't really thought about yet."

Listen to Chuck Todd's full conversation with Mitch Daniels and explore other episodes of "The Chuck ToddCast" here.