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Thursday
May122011

Indiana First Lady Cheri Daniels Avoids Comment on Husband's Rumored 2012 Bid 

Michael Cohen/WireImage(INDIANAPOLIS) -- The wife of Indiana governor and potential GOP presidential candidate Mitch Daniels revealed to an audience of Republicans in Indianapolis on Thursday night her expertise is milking cows, that her favorite country music singer is Keith Urban, and one of her nicknames is “pig whisperer.”

What Indiana first lady Cheri Daniels did not do, however, is engage in speculation about her husband’s possible bid for the Republican presidential nomination, even though she is thought to wield significant influence over Gov. Mitch Daniels’ decision.

“I truly appreciate the encouragement you have given Mitch,” Mrs. Daniels said during a much-anticipated -- and mostly lighthearted -- keynote address at the Indiana Republican Party’s annual spring dinner.

“I think this speaks for itself,” Mrs. Daniels said, warming up the crowd, “but I am an honorary Hooters girl.”

The speech was viewed as a coming out party of sorts for Mrs. Daniels, whose rocky marital history with her husband has come under intense scrutiny as Gov. Daniels nears his decision on a presidential run.  The couple married in 1978 and divorced in 1993 when Mrs. Daniels left her husband and their four daughters to marry another man in California. They eventually reconciled and were remarried in 1997.

Gov. Daniels also mostly steered clear of 2012 presidential politics Thursday night, even as the crowd erupted into chants of “Run, Mitch, Run!”

“There’s been a whole lot of speculation leading up to tonight, no sense beating around the bush about that,” Gov. Daniels said. “I’m not saying I won’t do it.”

But he didn’t say he would either.

Daniels, who has been governor of Indiana since 2005 and served in the presidential administrations of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, has said that he plans to announce a decision around Memorial Day.

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