When Mitch Daniels asked his wife Cheri to deliver the keynote at the Indiana GOP’s spring dinner earlier this month, sources say it was partially an attempt to show her how well-received she would be when she entered the spotlight. But it didn’t work; as we learned yesterday, she and her four grown daughters exercised their family veto power and nixed a Daniels 2012 run. Insiders say Cheri simply couldn’t come to terms with the scrutiny of her marriage and mothering; she and Mitch divorced in 1993 and remarried in 1997—and Cheri married another man in California in the years between.
She was also facing criticism from some who believed she “abandoned” her daughters during that time—they lived with their father—a claim Mitch staunchly denied in a separate statement yesterday. Though one source says the couple could have spun the marital issue—“If you like a love story with a happy ending you’ll like ours”—the truth is that many GOP insiders didn’t realize what went on in Daniels’ past until the stories started coming out recently, and Cheri apparently wasn’t ready for those stories to continue. Politico’s extensive behind-the-scenes piece traces the saga from the moment Mitch Daniels began laying the groundwork for a presidential run through Friday, when it still seemed very likely he would soon announce, to Sunday, when the world learned he wouldn’t. (Read more Mitch Daniels stories.)