Governor of Indiana is the only public office Mitch Daniels has ever run for, and he won it with more votes than any other candidate in Hoosier history.
He's no career politician, but he is a Washington insider. Daniels served as an adviser to President Ronald Reagan and financial guru under President George W. Bush.
Many had hoped the Republican governor would run for president.
"You made the decision with your family not to run for president. But as you're watching this (presidential campaign) unfold, does a part of you kind of wish that you were in the thick of this?" CBN News' Jennifer Wishon asked the governor.
"It's a fair question," he replied. "I get it a lot and the phone's still ringing. But number one, I think there's some really good people running. I think there's several who could make good presidents."
Putting 'People' Back in 'We the People'
Although he's not in the race, he's written a book outlining his vision for America titled A Guide for "Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans." (ITALICS) -- in other words, he says, directions for putting the "people" back in "we the people."
Daniels warned that if America doesn't get its fiscal house in order, it may find itself in the same financial crisis as debt ridden Greece.
"A point I make all the time is that this is now a philosophical or ideological matter at this phase. It's arithmetic," he told CBN News.
"And the debt levels we've piled up and are scheduled to add to, if we don't do something very decisive very soon, they will punish and paralyze the American economy to the extent that we won't have the American dream of a better tomorrow -- and we're not far away from this," he warned.
Obama 'Out of Touch'
Daniels delivered the GOP response to the president's State of the Union address, focusing on why many Republicans say the Obama administration is out of touch.
Daniels said the president's economic plan would actually hurt the middle class and the unemployed.
"The president's grand experiment in trickle-down government has held back rather than sped economic recovery," Daniels said. "He seems to sincerely believe we can build a middle class out of government jobs paid for with borrowed dollars."
"Republicans will speak for those who believe in the dignity and capacity of the individual citizen," he continued, "who believe that government is meant to serve the people rather than supervise the people, who trust Americans enough to tell them the plain truth about the fix we are in, and to lay before them a specific, credible program of change big enough to meet the emergency we are facing."
Despite his harsh words for the president, Daniels stressed the importance of compromise
"If you believe, as I do, that we are facing a genuine survival level threat to the America we've known and the American dream that we've cherished then I think you're drilling to the conclusion that you'll do what it takes to head that off," Daniels replied.
"I for one have no interest in standing in the wreckage of our republic saying 'I told you so' or 'you should have done it my way,'" he added.
Dialing Down the Rhetoric
In fact, an entire chapter in his book is dedicated to convincing leaders to dial down what he calls "the demonization and even criminalization of political differences" in Washington.
But despite his warnings, Daniels is optimistic, saying he sees an opportunity to validate government "by the people."
"We have the chance, not only to reestablish our standard of living, but to prove to the skeptics of history that creatures of God can look after themselves and together look after each other," Daniels said.