NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: President Obama just telling top Democrats that he's very much open to Republican ideas on health care, including expanding the use of those health savings accounts.
That part, my next guest is all for, but what about the rest?
Republican Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels joining me right now.
Governor, very good to have you.
GOV. MITCH DANIELS, R-IND.: Hi, Neil.
CAVUTO: Governor, as you know, the president hasn't exactly formally presented his plan, but of the leaks we have gotten and the signals we have gotten from the White House, it does reach out to Republicans on a couple of their favorite ideas, including this investigative force on waste and all that.
Will it do the job? Will it woo enough Republicans or give the idea that there is some bipartisanship here?
DANIELS: I have no idea, Neil. You're in Washington, and I'm not. I...
CAVUTO: Well, actually, I'm in New York, but it's close. But you're right.
DANIELS: I -- sorry.
I -- my sense is, probably not, that the Republicans have offered some steps that they would be willing to go along with. It doesn't appear to be the course that the president has chose, but I guess we can hope.
CAVUTO: All right.
Now, you have been saying that any kind of plan, any type of initiative like this has got to be about ultimately saving money, because that's obviously the grenade we're trying to deal with here. Does it? The way things are going now, does it?
DANIELS: It doesn't, honestly.
As I see it, if -- if we had set out to build a machine for overconsumption and overspending in health care, we could haven't done much better than what we have wound up with, that is to say, a system that rewards people, pays hospitals and doctors and others more for how much they do, not how well they do it, that says to the consumer, it's free to you, you are using someone else's credit card, you take all you like, lays a heavy dose of defensive medicine on top of that, thanks to the trial bar.
And the -- the plan the president, all the versions that I have seen just simply take and magnify the worst features of the current system that are driving costs up. You know, when you're in a dead end, the worst option is full-speed ahead, but I'm afraid that's the course that the majority has opted for up to now.
CAVUTO: You know, Governor, I finished reading Mitt Romney's book last night, ahead of my interview with the former governor and his wife tomorrow.
And one thing struck me, as I was getting ready to interview you. The seasoned business guys who want to tackle a lot of our political problems -- you have had great success in Indiana doing that. In fact, a number of groups have scored you the nation's best governor.
And it got me thinking, if -- if Governor Romney is able to score on that, and you clearly have had great success with that in Indiana, potentially tipping a state that had gone blue back red, would you entertain -- and I know you've been asked this before -- a national office, president, vice president, maybe Mitt's running mate, if he's running?
DANIELS: No, my mind is on the problems of our state.
And although they are, I think, more manageable than most other states' around the country, they are plenty big enough. And we have got our hands full here. And that's what we're working on.
But, you know, in terms of health care, Neil, I do think maybe there's some value in the experience we have had here. Seventy percent of our state employees are now in a consumer-driven plan. They make their own decisions. They're pushing back, searching for the best price, using generic drugs more, all the things that might, I would hope, be instructive.
CAVUTO: But what I meant by that, Governor -- I'm sorry, sir. I wasn't clear, but what I meant by that is, the nation seems to be looking to -- in the case of Governor Romney and others, they are bragging about their technical business experience, something that they would have probably buried in the past, but they are showcasing now, guys like you who have been there, done that in corporations.
What do you make of that?
DANIELS: Yes, you were clear enough. I was just trying to slip the...
DANIELS: Yes. This is an eye-of-the-beholder situation.
DANIELS: I do -- I do believe, honestly, and have said many times that, of all the things I have had a chance to do, the 15 years I spent in business were probably the most useful when we try to deal with the real world problems of people that come to us these days in -- in public life.
CAVUTO: But, in the meantime, you have been a very big
DANIELS: Yes. But, beyond that, you're the judge.
CAVUTO: I'm sorry. We have our break coming up. I want to get this out.
You have been a big defender of Toyota, when everyone else and his uncle has been bashing the company. You think they have overdone it?
DANIELS: Well, all I have said -- and several other governors in both parties have said -- let's just make sure we play here, and that we don't have a witch-hunt that goes beyond what has been -- what's called for or what has occurred in other places.
The government put itself in a very awkward position when it decided to take over a large part of the auto business. And it's now regulating its direct competitors.
DANIELS: And, so, you know, they should pay any necessary penalties, obviously fix the problems. They should be treated at least as sternly as other companies, but not more so.
CAVUTO: OK. Governor, understood.
Thank you very much. Good seeing you.
DANIELS: Thanks, Neil.