Surveying an underwhelming field of presidential candidates, GOP party elders are scrambling to entice stronger politicians into the race, reports the New York Times. “The race needs more responsible adults who can actually do the job,” says a party official from New Hampshire. The first debate is Thursday, and the field could be set by June, creating a sense of urgency. Many party leaders fear the headline-grabbing antics of Donald Trump and Sarah Palin: “There’s a void right now, and even clowns can fill voids," says a former adviser to George Bush.
Among names getting play are Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, and Paul Ryan. Daniels in particular is gaining traction, as he has experience in the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush White Houses and strong conservative bona fides. “I’m getting letters from all over the damn country, and some of them are pretty moving,” says Daniels. “It can’t help but affect you.”