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Opening Arguments

Three conditions

Every time somebody writes about Gov. Mitch Daniels and the 2012 presidential race, he seems closer to getting in:

He did say no at first, making jokes and scoffing at reporters who asked repeatedly about the possibility. He even told Republicans at their state convention in June that he has "never once looked in a bathroom mirror and seen the president of the United States looking back."

But earlier this year, Daniels promised some politically-connected friends - including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and other folks he'll identify only as "names you would recognize" - that he will leave open the possibility.

He claims he did it to shut them up, that he'll consider it seriously only under three conditions: the country's economic situation and national deficit don't improve, a candidate he supports doesn't enter the field, and his family gives him the OK.

The approval of his family is beyond our consideration, but it seems fair to write about the other two conditions. The country's economic situation and national deficit are not likely to improve given the current administration's policies, so that's one for Daniels getting in. I can think of two other candidates worthy of consideration -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin -- for their fiscal toughness in a time of gross budgetary irresponsibility, so that one's a tossup. But while all three of them have good ideas,  Daniels has a more extensi