Twelve in 2012 Scorecard – Mitch Daniels

Tonight on "Special Report with Bret Baier," FOX News kicks off a new series: Twelve in 2012

Each night Special Report will profile one of a dozen potential Republican presidential contenders. When it's all over, look for a documentary special that lays out the state of the 2012 race inside the GOP.

Mitch Daniels

Age: 61

Current Position: Governor of Indiana since 2005

Previous experience: Director of the Office of Management and Budget (2001 to 2003); executive with drug maker Eli Lilly (1990 to 2001);White House political adviser (1985 to 1987); executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (1983-1984); aide to Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar (1976 to 1983); aide to Lugar as Indianapolis mayor (1971 to 1976).

Education: Princeton University, Georgetown University Law Center

Family: Wife, Cheri, and four grown daughters

What you might not know:

Daniels was arrested in 1970 at Princeton for marijuana possession and later wrote a newspaper column about the experience.

His paternal grandfather emigrated to America from Syria - one of many Christians who fled the country.

His pitch: The Anti-Obama

For Republicans primarily concerned about debt, deficit and taxes, Daniels is the man.

Small in stature, but full of ideas and energy, Daniels stormed out of Washington and back into Indiana politics in 2004.

In his two terms he has managed not only to cut spending, lower taxes and balance the budget, he has done so with remarkable popularity in his state.

Daniels reelection in 2008 with 58 percent of the vote, even as Barack Obama became the first Democrat to carry the Hoosier State since 1964, is testament to his popularity, despite his zeal in slashing budgets.

Daniels is an unlikely presidential contender, a man of low-key charm and with a tendency to speak frankly. It may play with Indianans, but will it play on a national level?

He spurned talk of a presidential run immediately after his reelection, but eventually warmed to the idea, explaining that he had more success getting attention for his proposals on issues like Social Security reform as a potential contender than a lame duck governor.

The Knocks: Mr. "Truce"

When Daniels suggested that it might be time for a "truce" on social issues in order to take bipartisan action on spending and debt, he became a target for social conservatives like Mike Huckabee.

While Daniels is very socially conservative himself, he was automatically branded by those primarily interested in social issues as soft on the issue. Unfortunately for Daniels hopes, his path to the White House as a Midwestern governor and dark horse candidate would almost certainly have to begin in Iowa, where social conservatives dominate the caucus system.

Plus, his short stature and thinning locks make him look more like an accountant than a commander in chief. Stand him next to President Obama on a debate stage and the juxtaposition could be jarring.

Power Play's Odds for Nomination: 1 in 15

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.