Quietly, Mitch Daniels laying the groundwork for presidential run

Both attendees and Daniels’ advisers said the governor is not using the sit-downs to request commitments or even talking in any detail about the prospect of a run.

Rather, the intimate get-togethers are more like get-to-know-you sessions – the political equivalent of a first date – in which the governor can tell the story of what he’s done in the Hoosier State and gauge interest in a possible candidacy and his visitors can get a first-hand look at the Republican who’s been winning so much insider buzz.

“I was very impressed with Gov. Daniels,” said James Huffines, a Texas banker and major national donor who flew up from Austin for a June dinner. “I think he’s a fresh face for the Republican Party and I hope he does run.”