INDIANAPOLIS | Gov. Mitch Daniels quit politics when he accepted the presidency of Purdue University this summer, but he remains relevant as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has adopted a Daniels catchphrase as his own — "trickle-down government."
Daniels said Tuesday he believes he coined the phrase, which he's used in public several times —most notably in his Republican response to Democratic President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in January.
"The president's grand experiment in trickle-down government has held back rather than sped economic recovery," Daniels said in that speech. "He seems to sincerely believe we can build a middle class out of government jobs paid for with borrowed dollars."
Romney deployed a slightly different definition of "trickle-down government" against the president in their first debate this month, saying Obama believes in "bigger government, spending more, taxing more, regulating more — if you will, trickle-down government."
Since then, the former Massachusetts governor has used the phrase on the campaign trail to attack what he claims is Obama's preference for excessive taxes and regulation. He also used it in Tuesday night's debate.
The phrase itself derives from "trickle-down economics," a 1980s critique of the idea that cutting taxes for the rich eventually leads to benefits for all.
Besides "trickle-down government," Daniels said Romney and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan seem to also have picked up on themes from his 2011 book, "Keeping the Republic," such as needing to figure out what kind of country America wants to be and what kind of people Americans are.
"I think in small ways maybe we had a little input," Daniels said.