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Republicans, be careful in wishing for a 'dream candidate'

When Mitch Daniels decided not to run for president, many Republicans were disappointed that their dream candidate bowed out. But the current field may not be as weak as people think.

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At last, the Republican field of presidential candidates is firming up. But it seems many primary voters are still dissatisfied with their choices.

When Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels declined to run over the weekend, a great sigh of disappointment went up among some Republicans. They had seen him as a strong candidate in a weak pack – someone with a state track record of fiscal strength; a person of broad appeal, who, as budget director for President George W. Bush, would do well on the fundraising circuit.

With Governor Daniels out (his family vetoed a run), e-mails urging a candidacy again flowed to the in-boxes of other GOP stars, people such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a two-termer, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a charismatic bulldog of an executive. They both still insist they’re not running, but oh, how some wish they would!

Republicans have to be careful about fixating on “dream” candidates. What if Daniels had thrown his hat in the ring? He has a strong record, but voters might not find him charismatic enough. The former governor of Florida may seem unbeatable, but what about the “Bush dynasty” label? New Jersey’s Mr. Christie has that can-do brashness, but he’s still relatively inexperienced as a governor.

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