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Did Daniels break his nonpartisan pledge?

Some Purdue University faculty believe university President Mitch Daniels violated his pledge to refrain from partisan politics when he spoke to a Minnesota audience this week.

The former Republican governor was keynote speaker at the Center of the American Experiment’s fall briefing. The organization supports right-to-work laws, lower taxes and “traditional American values,” according to the Indianapolis Star.

Daniels spoke on “Indiana’s fiscal transformation.”

“I owe it to (the university) and every member of the community to be strictly nonpartisan, as the school is,” Daniels said in June 2012 after he was named president of Purdue. On multiple occasions since, he has declined to comment on partisan subjects, including a recent appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show. He also sidestepped questions about Richard Mourdock’s controversial rape and abortion comments during the 2012 Republican primary during an appearance on “The Colbert Report” last fall.

But Daniels’ remarks Monday violated his pledge, according to some.

“(Daniels) said clearly when he took the job he would stay out of partisan politics,” said Bill Mullen, a professor of English and American studies. “There’s no reason the president of Purdue should be out giving public talks on lowering taxes in other states. ... President Daniels is still acting like a conservative Republican governor, just doing so from the platform of the presidency of Purdue.”

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