WASHINGTON -- For Republicans dreaming of a knight in shining armor to save the GOP day, Gov. Mitch Daniels ain't budging.
Asked by a reporter if a loss for Mitt Romney in Tuesday's Michigan primary would prompt him to reconsider his decision not to enter the Republican race, the Indiana governor offered a flat "no."
Daniels said he's confident that the eventual Republican nominee will provide a strong contrast to President Barack Obama, and he dismissed the notion that a long and bruising primary is cause for concern from Republicans who have suggested a new entrant like himself would be their best hope should Romney falter.
"I'm in the camp that believes that these folks are being refined and improved by this very difficult process," he said.
"After a while here, by and by, this is going to be a binary choice," Daniels added. "This president, this administration, this record, versus an alternative. And if that alternative is positive and reasonably specific about a better way forward, we got a great chance to win."
Romney backer Gov. Bob McDonnell conceded that a loss for Romney in his home state "wouldn't be good" but said that momentum there appears to be moving in the onetime Massachusetts governor's favor.
And McDonnell echoed Daniels' belief that Republicans will coalesce around the nominee and charge forward to a competitive general election.
"We're always looking for that knight in shining armor to come in that's going to slay Obama with one blow. That's not the kind of campaign it's going to be. That's why we've had 5 different frontrunners over the last 6 months or so," he said.
"But I will say this: Whenever that nominee is decided and I think it will be Mitt Romney there will be a galvanization of the Republican and conservative and libertarian and independent base in a significant way within 30 days that all our focus at combating these incredible big government one size fits all statist policies that Obama has promoted over these last four years."