VALPARAISO | When it comes to the upcoming presidential election, Republican Sen. Dan Coats said plans for an economic recovery need to take center stage.
"I think in the end, it's going to focus on Barack Obama and Mitt Romney and the economy being the underlying issue," Coats said.
Speaking with Times editorial board members Friday, following the Valparaiso Economic Development Corporation's annual Indiana Economic Outlook presentation, Coats said he believes reforming the tax code, both for corporations and individuals, needs to happen in order to stimulate the economy.
"There's probably more support for tax reform than anything else out there," Coats said. "We're trying to build a bipartisan consensus to get this done."
In the plan co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, tax rates would be simplified and Coats said most families would either pay the same amount or less.
Coats said his plan could also help spur economic growth with a 24-percent flat tax for corporations, less than a number of countries with whom the U.S. trades.
When it comes to the presidential election and jockeying vice presidential picks, Coats said he sees potential in Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
He said the nominee, though, may want to look outside Washington and toward governors with executive experience. He said Gov. Mitch Daniels is at the top of his list.
"Boy, if you want somebody with a record of been-there-done-that, he's the guy," Coats said. "We're not a state that embraces change and Mitch brought about change and made it work."