Mitch Daniels thinks he can beat President Obama in 2012

Holly Bailey

Mitch Daniels has been fairly cautious in talking about his potential 2012 presidential run, casting himself as someone truly reluctant to put himself and his family through the scrutiny of a grueling campaign.

But the self-depreciating Indiana governor was a little more cocky than usual today as he kicked around his 2012 prospects with a group of Indiana state house reporters. Per the Associated Press, Daniels confidently declared he can beat President Obama.

"I think the chances would actually be quite good," Daniels said.

The comment isn't so surprising. It would be news if a possible GOP contender didn't say he could beat Obama. Still, the comments marked a strong departure from the sometimes halting approach that Daniels has so far taken in assessing a possible run at the presidency next year.

Perhaps sensing he'd gone a little farther than usual, Daniels was quick to admit his campaign could still fall short.

"The campaign might break down because of the candidate," he said. "But it would not break down because of a lack of very credible and highly respected people from both public and private life."

(Photo of Daniels and Obama: Charles Dharapak/AP)