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Daniels mum on White House run, timeline

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels did not offer any hints Sunday about when - or if  - he might decide to launch a presidential run, saying that he has "agreed to consider" a campaign for the White House but also praising the other GOP candidates already in the field.

"Others have said over the course of the last year and a half that I ought to consider something that had never entered my mind [before]," Daniels said on NBC's Meet the Press. "I've agreed to consider it."

The Indiana Republican praised his potential rivals, saying that "any one" of them could take up the mantle of fiscal discipline that has been a hallmark of his own political career.

"I still think there's time," he said of the evolving GOP presidential field. "There's some really good people running. I like them all. I'm hoping that our party will simply step up to the issues of the day, and it could be any one of those folks."

Daniels, whose fiscal expertise has prompted some Republicans to urge him strongly towards a run, also declined to give a timeline for making the decision.

"I have no idea," Daniels responded when asked if he could wait all summer to jump into the presidential contest.

"I am completely committed to the job I'm in now," he said, adding that "if deadlines pass, they do." (He has previously said that he will make a decision after his state's legislative session ends.)

The Bush-era budget chief -- given the nickname "The Blade" because of his enthusiasm for slashing spending -- is a favorite of fiscal hawks who see the Indiana governor as a serious and knowledgeable foe of the federal deficit. But social conservatives abhor Daniels' statement that the nation's fiscal crisis warrants a Republican "truce" on social issues like abortion and same sex marriage.

On Sunday, Daniels dismissed the question of whether his "truce" comments could harm his political chances in early nominating states Iowa and South Carolina. "I don't sit around calculating the political pluses and minuses of every little word I utter," he said, adding that he agrees with the policy proposals most dear to social conservatives' hearts.

In order to solve the big problems of the federal deficit, he said, "we're going to have to get together people who disagree on other things. That's all I've said."