- Associated Press - Thursday, January 19, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) - Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a popular fiscal conservative who flirted with a presidential bid, will deliver the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced the selection of Daniels in a statement Thursday in which they praised his “solid record of effective government and fiscal responsibility.”

Daniels provides the GOP with a onetime potential White House hopeful as a counterpoint to Obama in an election year heavily focused on the nation’s economic outlook. He also governs a state that Obama won in 2008, ending a long stretch of GOP wins in Indiana.

“As governor, he has turned deficits into surplus, reformed government from top to bottom, and created a better environment for private sector job creation,” Boehner said in the statement.

Daniels, a two-term Midwestern governor and former director of the White House budget office under President George W. Bush, had spent months considering a White House run. But he announced last May that he had decided against a bid out of concern over the impact on his wife and four daughters.

McConnell called Daniels an “eloquent spokesman for limited government” and the “right choice to explain the challenges we face and to outline a hopeful, common-sense vision for moving America forward by growing the economy, not the national debt.”

Last year, Republicans tapped incoming House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to deliver the GOP response.

Daniels has tangled with Indiana Democrats over anti-union legislation and funds for Planned Parenthood.

Indiana could become the first state in more than a decade to ban a requirement that workers pay union fees for representation, a move backed by Indiana House and Senate Republican leaders and, most recently, Daniels.

Last year, Daniels signed legislation making Indiana the first state to deny Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood for general health services, including cancer screenings.

Daniels will speak after Obama’s address.

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