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Obama's education admirer

Gov. Mitch Daniels might not agree with the Obama administration on the Affordable Healthcare Act, deficit reduction or many other issues, but he's a fan when it comes to education policy. In an interview with Education Week, while attending the National Governors' Association's winter meeting, he praised the administration for shifting the political landscape on education.

"To me, their most important contribution is not the money," the Indiana governor said. "It's really, simply their willingness to take what I consider to be aggressive positions on these questions and to irritate political allies that I think has mattered most. If somebody produced a study—and somebody might—that said that the money and all of this really didn't make much difference, it wouldn't change my position that they've really done a good thing. They helped make a broader set of reforms respectable among a wider group of people."

Daniels is right about the administration irritating its political allies, even if he's thinking only of teacher unions. In fact, Obama has irritated even long-time educators who aren't union members and have never been sympathetic to them. If Obama's eventual GOP opponent wants to find an issue where the president is vulnerable, playing up his role in pushing the "broader set of reforms" supported by Daniels is just the ticket.

Karen Francisco, editorial page editor for The Journal Gazette, has been an Indiana journalist since 1981. She writes frequently about education for The Journal Gazette opinion pages and here, where she looks at the business, politics and science of learning as it relates to northeast Indiana, the state and the nation. She can be reached at 260-461-8206 or by e-mail at