Daniels' Purdue Gig Ends VP Talk
Trustees must approve governor's selection as new university president
(photo courtesy of Purdue University)
After weeks of insisting he wasn't interested in being vice president, Mitch Daniels may have finally found a way to make people stop asking.
Daniels' expected selection Thursday as the next president of Purdue brings a halt to speculation he might become Mitt Romney's running mate, or end up in a Romney Cabinet.
IUPUI political analyst Brian Vargus says Daniels' disclaimers of interest in the vice presidency were so emphatic that he was probably never in the running. He says he suspects the Purdue job will be Daniels' last in public life.
But Vargus acknowledges former Governor Otis Bowen became President Reagan's Secretary of Health and Human Services after five years as a private citizen. And former Nebraska Governor Bob Kerrey is running this year to reclaim his old Senate seat, a year after ending a 10-year tenure as president of The New School.
The 63-year-old Daniels will have to leave Purdue's presidency in two years, like departing president France Cordova, unless Purdue's trustees waive the university's mandatory retirement age.
"He could come back -- somebody might want him for something, and he may find it overwhelming," Vargus says. "But I suspect this is where he wants to leave his legacy."
Vargus says he expects Daniels will remain politically active at the state and national levels, but says the nature of his involvement is likely to change toward using Purdue's bully pulpit to advocate for specific kinds of research, or showcasing the public-private partnerships he's championed as governor. Purdue has already made wide use of that concept with the companies it's established in the Purdue Research Park.
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» Source: Governor Daniels Expected to Become Next Purdue President (6-19-12)