Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels stopped by the Heritage Foundation yesterday to meet with conservative bloggers. His visit came a few days after The Weekly Standard released a lengthy piece on him, written by TWS Senior Editor Andrew Ferguson. Afterwards, he sat down with us for an exclusive “In the Green Room” interview.

A vocal champion against Obamacare, both before and after its passage, Governor Daniels did not let up on his criticism. “I think it is a misnomer to ever refer to it as ‘reform’. It doesn’t reform anything. It perpetuates the system we have with all these senseless features that make healthcare cost too much now. It is clearly based on fraudulent fiscal forecast. This was perfectly clear when they passed the bill but all the data that has come out since shows—as we always knew—that costs will be even higher to taxpayers.”

He also touched upon the importance of seeking out a renewed optimism in light of the troubles facing America:

“I believe optimism is the only operating philosophy that makes any sense. I do believe that we will demonstrate ultimately that as Americans we do have the sense of discipline and commitment to the future to make significant changes, to recognize that the path we are on is not affordable, not sustainable and is simply isn’t right to live high on the hog a little longer and leave to the future—and perhaps the near future—some unacceptable consequences.”

When asked about his view of the role of government, he responded, “The role of government in society is to take those steps necessary to make it more likely that the important parts of society—the private world of family, of business, and enterprise— to make sure that world flourishes.” Later on he added, “We believe in government that is limited but vigorous and always thinks of itself as the servant and enabler of the private sector, not the other way around.”