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WASHINGTON–Former Indiana governor and president of Purdue University Mitch Daniels was a member of the Bush cabinet when the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon happened on Sept. 11, 2001. As director of the Office of Management and Budget, it was his job to find the money to rebuild New York, compensate victims and fund the military response.

Daniels’ interview is part of a WIBC News Special 9/11: The Hoosier Call to Courage, which premieres Thursday at 7 p.m.

Daniels said he remembers trying to persuade Congress to divert money from other priorities, rather than borrow the money to begin the War on Terror.

“I gave a speech at the National Pres Club, I believe in October 2001, and pointed out that in past crises when, for instance, Pres. Truman decided we needed to act in Korea, they promptly reduced spending on a host of other items and said, this is our priority for now,” said Daniels.

He said that persuasion didn’t work.

“Congress did what Congress has consistently done over recent decades, which is decline to reduce anything, decline to say no to anything, and borrow the money.”

Each time that happens, it adds to the deficit.

Daniels decided to leave the Bush administration and return to Indiana after seeing several goals fulfilled, and he was approached to run for governor. When he won, his having witnessed the events on 9/11 had influence on some of his priorities and decisions.

“I suppose that watching the nation and many good people react aggressively and quickly to 9/11, just reminded me that whatever other objectives one has in public life, there will be emergencies. There will be crises. You better be ready for those,” he said.

He said one of his first briefings was on emergency preparedness, and updating Indiana’s readiness, which helped when severe flooding hit the state in 2008.

His experiences in New York helping victims’ families and helping make sure the compensation was administered reminded him that it is possible for governmental bureaucracy to be helpful and even heroic.

“It does often bring out the best. A lot of people, at least temporarily, are willing to set aside the rules and regs and things that sometimes people in bureaucracies hide behind to avoid making decisions or taking any chance that someone might criticize them later.”