Gov. Mitch Daniels had turned down “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” several times over the years, perhaps rightly so.
Wednesday night’s interview wasn’t the easiest or most comfortable for the governor, who joked at the end that he needed a dog for protection.
Daniels agreed to visit the reliably Democratic show as part of his ongoing book tour. The book, “Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans,” was released Tuesday.
The entire interview lasted about 22 minutes and is available online. Because of time constraints, not everything aired on the TV show.
It started nicely enough, with Stewart telling Daniels that he is known in almost sacred terms as a fiscally responsible governor who could save the Republican Party. And he noted a woman in the audience supported him for president or vice president.
“One woman?” Daniels asked.
Stewart replied deadpan, “It’s our audience.”
There were some nice policy exchanges between Daniels and Stewart on the nation’s rising debt and suggestions for overhauling Social Security and Medicare – the subject of Daniels’ book.
Stewart focused on the debt that increased under Republican control, but Daniels said he didn’t want to relitigate it while also conceding some GOP responsibility.
Then Stewart moved on to the current fight over corporate tax rates and increases for the wealthy, which led to one slightly testy exchange.
Daniels had said the nation needed to speak the “language of unity” to attack the debt. Then he questioned President Obama’s “obsession with the wealthy people” and said the constant bashing is a distraction.
Stewart pointed out the words Daniels used – obsession, bashing and confiscate.
“I understand the language of unity, and I’m not sure that that’s it,” he said, to which Daniels softly replied, “fair enough.”
Daniels said he got a little defensive because Stewart was asking him to defend positions he hasn’t advocated.
Stewart ended the interview by apologizing, saying it is difficult to get prominent Republicans on the show for these discussions and he was excited by Daniels’ reputation as a smart, fiscal conservative.
He also said he is always excited to meet someone his same height.
To watch the interview, go to www.thedailyshow.com
A Rand dinner
The Allen County Republican Party will again bring a prominent conservative to headline its bean dinner fundraiser.
Chairman Steve Shine announced that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will speak at the Oct. 25 event.
While a location and pricing have yet to be determined, Shine said he has already been overwhelmed with interest for the event. He said the party will likely need to book a venue that can hold 700 guests.
The tea party favorite is the son of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and has advocated for a smaller federal government and balanced budgets. He follows last year’s speaker, Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor who ran for president.
“Our goal is to bring in as many national speakers as possible,” Shine said.
Shine thanked Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, for helping secure Paul as the speaker. Stutzman also helped bring Huckabee last year.
Allen County Republicans better hope attendance at Wednesday’s lunch club isn’t indicative of the excitement over the party’s ticket this year.
About 20 people made it to GOP headquarters for the 11:30 a.m. luncheon, which featured KFC chicken, biscuits and sides. Only three candidates for Fort Wayne office made an appearance: Councilman Tom Didier, R-3rd; Tom Freistroffer, running at large; and Zach Bonahoom, running for clerk.
Former Councilman John Crawford co-sponsored the event, but did not attend. His campaign’s political director did speak and said Crawford was out of town. Crawford is running for an at-large council position. Neither mayoral nominee Paula Hughes nor her campaign manager attended the event. Bonahoom was the event’s other co-sponsor.
Attendance was so light Didier felt compelled to ask about it during his remarks – each candidate for office was permitted to speak. He was told the events usually draw about 40 people but can range from 25 to 80.
Republicans endorsing each other typically doesn’t make news, but governors don’t typically endorse municipal candidates outside of mayoral races.
Gov. Mitch Daniels, however, has apparently endorsed the Republican Fort Wayne clerk candidate, Zach Bonahoom, according to a release from the Bonahoom campaign.
“I support Zach Bonahoom for city clerk because he will be able to find efficiencies, bring fresh ideas to the table and implement cost saving technologies to help his fellow taxpayers,” Daniels said in the statement.
Making the endorsement even stranger is that it comes before Daniels has taken a stance on the city’s mayoral race, although it is not likely he will break from party ranks. Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman already traveled to town to endorse Hughes.
Bonahoom is facing longtime Democratic Clerk Sandy Kennedy.