Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels says he has no regrets about his recent decision not to run for the Republican presidential nomination, but says he believes he could have beaten President Obama if he had run.
"Yes, I think so. I mean, no one can know," Daniels told "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour when asked if he could have won the 2012 general election.
In an email sent out to supporters at midnight last Sunday, Daniels announced his definitive answer to growing speculation about a possible race with the words, "I love my country, but I love my family more."
"It was uncomfortable to feel two duties that I am very passionate about," Daniels said. "But in the end, it wasn't really any question which came first to me."
Sporting a bandage on his forehead after being accidently hit with a glass door at the gym, Daniels joked that the timing of the incident was just right.
"This was the day before I announced I wasn't going to run. The popular theory is this knocked some sense into me," Daniels quipped.
Also, Daniels added that his concern over privacy and security for his family were the driving forces behind his decision.
"We've got young women, three of them that have been married not too long," Daniels said of his daughters. "They're looking forward to building lives, starting families, and this was just a disruption that they were very, very leery of."
A run for office also would have meant rehashing the Daniels' family complicated past.
In the 1990's, Daniels and his wife Cheri divorced. She moved to California while he raised their four daughters in Indiana, but several years later the couple remarried.
Debt: "Challenge of this time"
As budget director under President George W. Bush, Daniels became known as "The Blade" for his aggressive attempts to control spending. He said he brought that same philosophy to his governance of Indiana.
"The state was broke. For no good reason except that it simply overspent its income seven straight years. And so we turned that around," Daniels said. "Reduce the debt, the long-term debt facing the country, before it crushes the American dream, limits our influence in the world and, you know, possibly even worse consequences. That, to me, that is the challenge of this time."
Daniels said he supports Rep. Paul Ryan's efforts to reform the budget, saying he's "headed in the right direction" on Medicare reform. Daniels said he hopes the challenge of Medicare and Medicaid reform will be a litmus test in the presidential race.
"I think it is the central dilemma" Daniels said. "It ought, therefore, to be the centerpiece of the next election and we ought to test the proposition and -- and I have faith that the answer will be yes, that Americans are absolutely up to the job of making changes that are necessary once they understand the facts."
Daniels reiterated his previous call for a temporary truce on divisive social issues so the country can focus on financial challenge that "threatens us all."
"If this country goes broke, which the president's own commission chairman said is the most predictable crisis we've seen? it's a matter of arithmetic, not my ideology or yours? we will all pay the price -- black and white, gay and straight, male and female. We are all in this together."