In a speech that appeared aimed directly at conservatives wary of his stance on social issues, Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels bluntly warned participants at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday against spurning candidates and issues capable of attracting broad public support.More at the link.
"Purity in martyrdom is for suicide bombers," said Daniels, whose potential 2012 presidential candidacy has been defined by his critique of the some of his party's most ardent activists. He also called not-so-subtly for a shift in the party's political tone.
"I submit that, as we ask Americans to join us on such a boldly different course," Daniels said, "it would help if they liked us, just a bit."
Daniels' speech was markedly different than those given at the conference by other prospective GOP presidential candidates, who mostly struck to red meat for the party's base. Though the governor did take a few early jabs at President Obama, he seemed less interested in catering to his than in challenging to reach beyond its orthodoxy "to unify America, or enough of it, to demand and sustain the big change we propose."
Some conservatives have criticized Daniels for calling for a GOP "truce" on social issues so it can focus the party can focus on the economy. Daniels never referenced the controversy directly in his speech, but he did say the party must attract supporters who aren't plugged into politics or conservative commentary.
"We must be the vanguard of recovery, but we cannot do it alone," he told a packed house in an after-dinner talk. "We have learned in Indiana, big change requires big majorities. We still need people who never tune in to Rush or Glenn or Laura or Sean," Daniels said, referring to talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity. "Who surf past C-SPAN to get to SportsCenter."
And check back for updates. Meanwhile, at New York Times, "At Conference, G.O.P. Hopefuls Offer Criticism of All Things Obama."