Speaking to an overflowing crowd in Riggs Library Friday, Governor Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.) emphasized the importance of dealing with America’s debt crisis.

Before beginning, Daniels applauded those in attendance for their dedication to politics on a Friday night and for “not being nearly as nerdy as I thought you would be.”

Daniels, who graduated from Georgetown Law in 1979, said that the growing government deficit is the most important challenge facing the country today.

“Americans ought to set aside other differences until we have dealt with this single issue,” Daniels said.

The governor, who is credited with turning Indiana’s $600 million deficit into a billion-dollar surplus through a series of sometimes contentious measures, offered ideas for reducing the federal deficit, including the restructuring of entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare.

Daniels’ message struck a chord with audience member Taylor Colwell (SFS ’15).

“It was refreshing to hear from a politician who, while standing firm in his conservative values, is still extremely pragmatic and focuses on bringing people together, rather than dividing them,” he said.

After his remarks, Daniels opened the program to questions from the audience, which spilled into the President’s Room where audience members watched via television.

An advocate for smaller government, the governor addressed numerous questions regarding the role and size of government.

“Skepticism about big government is about as American as it comes, but don’t let skepticism about big government cause skepticism of all government,” Daniels said.

The event, which was hosted by the College Republicans, is part of a speaker series which is set to showcase Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) as well as conservative commentator Ann Coulter later this year.

College Republicans Chairman Joe Knowles (COL ’12) said he thinks that Friday’s event and the entire series are an integral part of Georgetown’s

political landscape.

“Students don’t just want to see these people on TV; they want to connect with them; they want to challenge them,” Knowles said.  “Students of Georgetown are very politically keen, so I love it when we invite speakers to campus because students can interact with them, hold them accountable and find out how the speaker’s thoughts impact their own beliefs.”

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