The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008



Daschle Withdraws

Former senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing about his confirmation to be secretary of Health and Human Services on January 8, 2009.(Larry Downing/Reuters)

Updated 2:04 p.m.
By Anne E. Kornblut and Paul Kane
In a stunning reversal, Tom Daschle withdrew from the process to become secretary of Health and Human Services on Tuesday, citing the distractions that followed his failure to pay $146,000 in back taxes. His decision came as another prominent Obama nominee, Nancy Killefer, withdrew from consideration to be Chief Performance Officer due to similar -- though smaller -- tax lapses.

Obama had said he supported Daschle, the popular former Senate Majority Leader, unequivocally. But after days of mounting questions, Obama said on Tuesday that he had accepted Daschle's decision to withdraw.

"This morning, Tom Daschle asked me to withdraw his nomination," Obama said in a statement. "I accept his decision with sadness and regret."

Obama said Daschle had "devoted his life to public service and health care reform, so that every American has access to health care they can afford." But, Obama said: "Tom made a mistake, which he has openly acknowledged. He has not excused it, nor do I. But that mistake, and this decision, cannot diminish the many contributions Tom has made to this country, from his years in the military to his decades of public service."

Daschle, in a statement, said being chosen for the post had been "one of the signal honors of an improbable career."

"But if 30 years of exposure to the challenges inherent in our system has taught me anything, it has taught me that this work will require a leader who can operate with the full faith of Congress and the American people, and without distraction," Daschle added. "Right now, I am not that leader."

Daschle had been appointed to two posts -- both HHS secretary and health care czar, with an office at the White House. He will not serve in either job, officials said.

"I will not be the architect of America's health care reform, but I remain one of its most fervent supporters," Daschle said.

Republicans greeted the reversal as foreordained. "He didn't really have a choice," Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said, after calling for him to step aside earlier in the day.

Cornyn, chairman of the GOP campaign committee, said it was "Geithner on steroids," referring to the $43,000 in back taxes the Treasury secretary paid before his confirmation vote.

Before the news broke, a growing number of Senate Republicans -- who had held their fire on the controversy involving their former colleague -- spoke out against Daschle's nomination as they entered the Senate this morning.

Sen. Richard Durbin, the Senate Democratic Whip, said Daschle "did the honorable thing," noting that Daschle probably "would have prevailed in the end, but it would have taken awhile."

Durbin said the withdrawal could be a serious setback for health care reform, because of Daschle's unusually strong legislative background and long interest in the issue. "It sets us back," Durbin said.

Key lawmakers said they were barely given notice of the change. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Finance Committee, who gave his full-throated support to Daschle after a 75-minute meeting yesterday, said he was told 15 minutes before the news broke.

"The tone was almost collegial, it was not acrimonious," Baucus said of yesterday's committee meeting, during which senators spent an hour reviewing the report on Daschle's finances and then met with him personally behind closed doors.

"Based on that meeting, I'm a little surprised by Senator Daschle's decision," Baucus said.

Queried as he entered the weekly Senate Democratic luncheon, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said of the withdrawal,"I think the statement speaks for itself." Axelrod was attending the meeting White House Counsel Gregory Craig, a preplanned gathering.

White House aides had spent the morning scrambling to contain the damage from the Daschle and Killefer lapses, which came on the heels of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's disclosure that he, too, had made mistakes on his past tax returns.

Obama has a round of television interviews scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, and had hoped to use them to promote his economic stimulus package, now making its way through the Senate.

At his daily press briefing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was peppered with questions about the twin withdrawals, and indicated that they were part of an effort by Obama to restore a sense of trust in the transparency he had promised as a candidate.
"You can't set a standard of responsibility but accept a different standard of who serves," Gibbs said.

Asked whether there were other nominees potentially in trouble, Gibbs indicated not. "The president is quite confident in the people he has chosen to serve in government," Gibbs said, "that we've put a standard of ethics and accountability unseen and unmatched by any previously seen." Gibbs said that Daschle had made the decision himself to remove his name from consideration.

"Let me step back and do a little bit broader answer," Gibbs said. "We're at a critical juncture in our nation's history, and a crossroads economically, and the president has a robust agenda to deal with many of those problems. As Senator Daschle said in the statement we released, and told the president on the phone, that he did not want to be a distraction to that agenda."

But Gibbs struggled to explain why Daschle and Killefer were forced to withdraw their nominations, but not Timothy Geithner, who had failed to pay tens of thousands of dollars in taxes as well.

Asked whether anyone at the White House had taken responsibility for the inadequate vetting process, Gibbs said: "We all take responsibility; the president takes responsibility."

Posted at 12:51 PM ET on Feb 3, 2009  | Category:  Cabinet
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Daniel -

I appreciate much of what you stated, but I have a problem believing that the 3 politicians you mention essentially honest; at least Geithner. The news account I read indicated that he had been notified of his liability on a number of occasions, over a period of months or years, yet failed to pay it. This willful misconduct should have disqualified him for his current position as top tax man.

As for the tax code, you are absolutely correct, the loop holes should be closed, and it should be simplified to the point where an average citizen can do their own taxes...including tax evading politicians. Would such politicians want that? Doubtful, as they would then lose ignorance as an excuse.

Posted by: Larry60 | February 4, 2009 2:17 PM

Former Senator Dashcle, Treasury Secretary Geitner, and even House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel are not inherently dishonest people. The problem is that the tax code has become a playground for insiders and they get the feeling that they are bulletproof on tax law violations.

A lot of problems could be solved if we used the tax code to raise revenue rather than to try and manipulate behavior. One of the most galling thing about our tax system is that two people who make a similar income could pay drastically different levels of income tax depending on how tax savvy they are.

Daschle and Geitner are smart people and Rangel chairs the committee that writes tax law. If they are running afoul of the tax law then what chance does the average taxpayer have?

There could probably be a bipartisan consensus to scrap the current tax code and create a new one that keeps the most popular deduction such as the home mortgage deduction. If a lot of complicated deductions were eliminated rates could probably be lowered.

The burden of paying taxes should be a financial one and not one of educating oneself about a Byzantine tax code, having to keep detailed records, or having to hire experts to do your taxes.

If President Obama could pull off tax simplification he would not have to worry about his legacy.

Posted by: danielhancock | February 4, 2009 9:51 AM


NOW, he looks both Gay,

and MAD! :-D

Don't let the Door hit ya, where the good Lord split-Ya! ;~)

Or, how did that go?

Na-Na Nah Nah, Hey-Heeeyyy;


Posted by: SAINT---The | February 3, 2009 7:49 PM

As a citizen and taxpayer, I request that the IRS audit every single Congress-critter in Washington. Who knows how many of them owe back taxes?

BTW, you can start with DeMint and Cornyn - let's see what kind of glass houses they live in!

Posted by: slavicdiva | February 3, 2009 3:38 PM


So glad to see that you are ignorant enough to be amused.

You lost, get over it and man up!

The fact of the matter is that NO REAL patriot wants to see the President fail. If they do, well then I guess they can't be REAL americans, can they?

Posted by: roxlaw


So, if some of us believe that the policies he is espousing will in the long run hurt this country, we should wish success upon him (so that his efforts pass the hill)? Please, get beyond the easy sound bites. This is not about the success or failure of the individual, but about what is right and wrong for our country. Put a different way, I want him to succeed IF and only IF what he is pushing will be good for the country. So, for instance, I'm all for an economic recovery act that has a glimmer of hope in recovering the economy (ie., stimulus). If he will alter the bill so that there is that chance (and removes the longer term permanent spending that is proposed), I hope he succeeds. There is nothing wrong with that view. It does not make us unpatriotic or a%#holes as you so eloquently labeled one of the posters. It simply means that some of us have not bought the line that the current package is stimulus -- the CBO says most of the outlays occur 2 and 3 years out. It also shows that we are willing to listen to some of Obama's own supporters/staffers. Take Susan Rice. There are alternatives discussed by some on the Hill that, using HER MODEL, would create almost twice as many jobs with far less spending. Why not have a serious discussion of these alternatives rather than the insulting "unpatriotic" and worse barbs? If the President will explore less costly alternatives that have the potential for both short term benefit and reduced long term permanent spending/safety net and other economic negatives, I hope he succeeds. If not, well, I hope the vision of others will succeed. But, how dare I and others care about the context or ramifications of policy choices.

Posted by: sagedutch | February 3, 2009 3:36 PM

1calgal writes in regards to Daschle's dashed hopes:

"You should hope that you would be treated more fairly if you admitted a mistake at your place of work".

Dear gal - If I was guilty of not paying 130K to the IRS, I would hope, and feel fortunate to have a job to go back to, if not a jail cell!

Posted by: Larry60 | February 3, 2009 2:58 PM

Down goes Douchle! Down goes Douchle!

Posted by: Jeffrey5 | February 3, 2009 2:36 PM

It took all of 8 years for many conservatives to realize what Bush was up to. Let's hope you liberals learn quicker, because you are going to be disappointed, guaranteed. Neither and none of them really care about you

Posted by: Larry60 | February 3, 2009 1:59 PM

We are witnessing the gradual erosion of the carefully crafted brand of The ONE. His logo, his lofty empty mantra, the Office of the President Elect, his Euro tour, media prepubescent infatuation, his Hollywood star, Change, Hope, blah blah blah.

His marketing created facade and packaging is becoming ineffective. A brand is a tough thing to maintain when the contents in the box are spoiled.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 3, 2009 1:56 PM

Nobody cares what Republicans think.

Republicans are off the national scene for good reasons and won't be back for a long time, I say 16 years.

Daschle had to go because of what EVERYBODY who mattered (Obama's $$$ people in particular) were thinking.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 3, 2009 1:54 PM

It is truly a sad day for America when someone so imminently qualified is hounded out of taking that position after full disclosure and admitting to a mistake. The Republicans must be very satisfied right now, for they have set back healthcare reform months if not years. I am sure they feel no hypocrisy after letting the Bush Administration get away with gutting the Constitution, ignoring national and international laws and stripping nearly all regulation of Wall Street for eight years. Even questioning Bush's decisions was unAmerican.

For those of you who think this is at all fair, good or funny and to the Republican on the Hill -- "Judge not lest ye be judged".

You should hope that you would be treated more fairly if you admitted a mistake at your place of work.

Finally to the media -- you have learned nothing after eight years of Republican lies and character assination. This kind of thing will continue and will make the public more cynical. It will be that much harder to enact the much needed change in this country.

Posted by: 1calgal | February 3, 2009 1:54 PM

CaptainQ -
Good input, but you don't seem to understand. If you have a "D" after your name it's all good.

Posted by: Larry60 | February 3, 2009 1:52 PM

Daschle was more acceptable than Eric Holder, our new Attorney General. It's got to be difficult for liberals when one of the country's most respected liberal publications brings Eric Holder's skeletons out of the closet. See the Mother Jones article from 1/14/09 below.

Going into office Holder may be the most morally damaged Attorney General in history. You can disagree with the political views of many AGs, but who else sold out the American people for huge paychecks? He took the side, repeatedly, of pharmaceutical companies who were making billions off of patient's deaths and medical complications and overbilling of Medicaid, the government program for the poor.

The Mother Jones article also cites other instances of Holder rejecting American values and taking the side of unscrupulous businesses. It is unsettling to think he now holds the position as our top cop.

Why Eric Holder Represents What's Wrong with Washington.

Posted by: CaptainQ | February 3, 2009 1:48 PM

So much for the "firestorm" that would only occur if it was a Republican nominee. You conservatives want to whine about anything else? Gotcha-questions? Liberal Media?


Posted by: mikem1 | February 3, 2009 1:44 PM

This is a time in America when ethics should be the central theme of any leadership position. Missouri State Senate President Pro Tem Charles Shields is an expert on health and human services. President Obama should reach out to America to find the right person for Secretary of Health and Human Services. ..............

Posted by: glclark4750 | February 3, 2009 1:43 PM

Roxlaw - I couldn't agree more...keep hoping

Posted by: Larry60 | February 3, 2009 1:42 PM

Obama ought to appoint Randy Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, Scooter Libby, Jack Abramhoff...whoops--ALL IN JAIL AND REPUBLICANS ALL!

Posted by: blarsen1 | February 3, 2009 1:41 PM


Don't need any goodies, just a leader that can erase the filth of the last 8 years.

Posted by: roxlaw | February 3, 2009 1:40 PM

"Howard Dean was always the best choice for this job."


Posted by: Bitter_Bill | February 3, 2009 1:40 PM

Howard Dean should be the DHS nominee.

He was the architect of the Obama win and he has the brass balls needed to accomplish health care reform.

I am sooo glad to see the corrupt, pay-to-play Daschle off the table.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 3, 2009 1:40 PM

Oh C'mon Roxlaw. You really wanted Bush to succeed...a bald face lie

Posted by: Larry60 | February 3, 2009 1:40 PM

Only yellow-dog "democrats" pretend that Daschle "did the right thing" and withdrew, Oba-wan had to CAN him!

Posted by: lightnin001 | February 3, 2009 1:39 PM

If Daschels's downfall delays Socialist Big Government disastrous health care then this is doubly good news.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 3, 2009 1:38 PM


So glad to see that you are ignorant enough to be amused.

You lost, get over it and man up!

The fact of the matter is that NO REAL patriot wants to see the President fail. If they do, well then I guess they can't be REAL americans, can they?

Posted by: roxlaw | February 3, 2009 1:38 PM

And of course, all the republicans are squeaky clean...

Posted by: blarsen1 | February 3, 2009 1:37 PM

There are some tax accountants and lawyers awfully busy in D.C. right now, updating the tax returns of every member of Congress and a few highly placed former Congress people as well.

It's a pity Geithner got through.

Posted by: srpinpgh | February 3, 2009 1:37 PM


CORRUPT regime

LOL, again. Please. You really have to stop.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 3, 2009 1:36 PM

Dear roxlaw -

Chill out...your gonna be OK. Obama gonna give you some goodies!

Posted by: Larry60 | February 3, 2009 1:36 PM

You conservative idiots sat by for 8 LONG years and tolorated the most CORRUPT regime to ever dis-serve the office of the presidency.

There are none worse than chaney, bush etal and the fact that OBAMA has moved to accept the resignations is admirable. By most accounts Dashele was respected by everyone but the ideologues who, it so happens, live in glass houses themselves.

I hope that OBAMA adopts a more stern approach toward the repubs and puts them back in the station that the American voters relegated them - to shut up and do the bidding of the people by supporting our President.

If they do not, they do so at their own peril since they are for all intents and purposes, are no longer relevant.

Posted by: roxlaw | February 3, 2009 1:34 PM

Dear hiberniantears -

Do you really think any of them uphold the Constitution. If so you are terribly deceived!

Posted by: Larry60 | February 3, 2009 1:32 PM

The only change Obama is bringing is the change of corrupt DC to the Chicago style. The house bill that Pelosi takes credit for is Obama's. He is just using his minions to take "credit" for that porkulus bill so that he may still be the annointed one. I hope all you fools who voted Obama/Biden get what is coming to you....a socialist America. Obama, if he doesn't get impeached before 2012, will lose big time in 2012. And, your Democratic majority? Y'all can kiss it goodbye in 2010. Y'all can keep the change! Obama is a sleazy, corrupt politician, has been a marxist all his life and will never change. Enjoy the rest of his short term....

Posted by: crazymountain | February 3, 2009 1:30 PM



LOL. That is a good one. I don't care who you are, that is funny.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 3, 2009 1:28 PM

This must have been traumatic for the Post to report this update...

Posted by: iThink2 | February 3, 2009 1:28 PM

Well, Daschle took himself out for a failure to pay taxes. Why didn't any of the Repugnantcans take themselves out of the running for a failure to uphold the Constitution?...

Posted by: hiberniantears | February 3, 2009 1:28 PM

Goodbye and good riddance to Tom Daschle, a weak, immoral man. Let us never forget that as Senate minority leader in 2003,he urged his fellow Democrats to vote for GWBush's obscene and totally unnecessary war in Iraq. Thousands died and hundreds of billions of dollars were squandered there for nothing. It was good when the voters of South Dakota removed him from office shortly thereafter. Daschle's behavior as a lobbyist since then has also been nothing short of shameful and his tax evasions make clear how little integrity he really has. Let him now fade into the obscurity he so richly deserves. He will not be missed.

Posted by: dsrobins | February 3, 2009 1:27 PM

And by the way - to all those very sad Republicans on this site who think they have some "issue" about FEMA and the ice storm in Ark/Ken/Tenn and keep trying to flog it - nothing could be a better example of what complete morons you are. If you're so concerned why don't you get on down there and start cutting down tree limbs - those are nicely red states where you ought to be very happy.

Posted by: dwt301 | February 3, 2009 1:26 PM

"Read my lips, no new taxes" George H.W. Bush

"The most ethical administration in history" W.J. Clinton

"In 2000 I said, 'Vote for me. I'm an agent of change'. In 2004, I said 'I'm not interested in change -- I want to continue as president' Every candidate has got to say 'change'". G.W. Bush

"Transparency and the rule of law shall be the touchstones of this administration". Barack Obama

Off to a good start!

Posted by: Larry60 | February 3, 2009 1:26 PM

I'm surprised more politicians are not caught up with tax problems, considering how complicated it is to file taxes properly. If printed, it is several thousand pages long, at least, and over a million words.

Posted by: Fiona12 | February 3, 2009 1:26 PM

I am not a fan of Obama or Daschle. However, gloating over this perceived failure over the administration serves no real purpose. The Obama administration's success is directly linked to the success of the country.

That being said, I'd like every Congressman, Senator, Cabinet member and staffer audited by the IRS. Let's see how much they've shorted their consituents in taxes. They, above all others, have the obligation to do things properly and transparently.

Posted by: Samael | February 3, 2009 1:25 PM

Does Daschle plan to leave DC completely?

This must have been very traumatic for the Post to report on....

Posted by: iThink2 | February 3, 2009 1:25 PM


you are an a@@hole. How can you sit back and rejoice when the country is in its worse state in eons?

You repub wingnuts are pitiful. If OBAMA fails, WE ALL FAIL. Get a grip and act like the good americans you purport to be and get behind the best hope we have for real change.

Posted by: roxlaw | February 3, 2009 1:25 PM

Washington politics as usual. Change?? Change we can believe in??? This is more of the same. Obama and his liberal elitist cronies think that the rules only apply to the little people. They will decide for us whether it's important that they follor the rules. Daschle took 5.3 million dollars in four years after leaving the senate. Where did this money come from?? Influence peddling plain and simple. This was what Obama said would not exist in his administraion (lie) The sad part is that he would have been confirmed. And where is our MSM/WAPO in all of this?? They won't say a word about Daschles conflict of interest after takiing 5.3 million from health care lobbyist/crooks. Ugh

Change - no - business as usual in Washington. You people just got the wool pulled over your eyes!

Posted by: Jaymand | February 3, 2009 1:25 PM

Hmmmmmm do as I say, not as I do isn't working for the "dashing-D". Typical limo lib. He forgot to get a fresh coat of teflon.

Posted by: alecsandertheg8 | February 3, 2009 1:25 PM


nice lecture.

Obama has surrounded himself with political hacks. He came from the septic tank of political thug hacks.

Emmanuel and Axlerod most likely has been serving these up and The ONE has been signing off on them. Clinton (and Bubba), Holder, et al. They all are damaged goods and a reflection of the man.

Obama's lack of any real experience is coming through. He never has had any good judgment in who he associates with.

This comes as no surprise to those that had not been indoctrinated into his cult.

Snap to it.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 3, 2009 1:24 PM

anyone else find it more than a little odd that the Secretary of the Treasury (who will have vast influence over the pending resolution of our economic crisis and whose post oversees the IRS) cruises through the process, while a very qualified nominee for HHS (which has little if anything to do with the economic crisis) gets caught in the net?

Posted by: xxxx4 | February 3, 2009 1:24 PM

I actually wrote to the White House this week and pleaded for the administration to dump the Daschle nomination. (Talk about feeling 'heard'!)

The new, seemingly high bar, on ethics can only be maintained by taking a clear, "no-exceptions" stand on nominees like Daschle and Geithner, both of whom should have known better.

That Geithner, now the most important financial overseer in the nation, does his own taxes with TuboTax, doesn't exactly instill a sense of trust in his decision-making, especially when doing so just happened to save him a boatload of cash.

And Daschle! How out of touch do you have to be to think that a car and driver supplied by a private equity firm needn't be reported as income.

If that's the kind of judgment we'd get from the man overseeing healthcare reform, then GOOD RIDDANCE!

Posted by: armar | February 3, 2009 1:23 PM

Daschle's withdrawal was the only decent way to end this fiasco of an appointment and leave Obama with some credibility. In truth, Geithner should be out the door as well. A do-over in these appointments hurts no one, benefits everyone.

Posted by: ButchDillon | February 3, 2009 1:23 PM

After Republicans went nuts over "nannygates" under Clinton, they lost Linda Chavez to the same issue because they couldn't defend her.

So if Republicans ever get back to the White House, they better make damn sure each and every nominee they put up has a spotless tax record. And good luck with that.

Posted by: dwt301 | February 3, 2009 1:22 PM

Sad news. Better we could have had Daschle to deal with health care than Geithner to deal with .... One has a history of being for people, the other??

Posted by: esthermiriam | February 3, 2009 1:22 PM

I can not wait to see how Keith Olbermann will sidestep these bullets tonight. Hey Mr. President better give FEMA A kick in the behind and get relief to Ark., Tenn and Ken.

Posted by: jivonows | February 3, 2009 1:22 PM

ryknow - we are all too familiar with putting a person with no real job in the white house -- see the last 8 years (and no, neither the stint owning the Rangers nor the governorship of the state of Texas counts as a "real job").

Posted by: xxxx4 | February 3, 2009 1:22 PM

Now only the old Republican guard needs to come clean, too. Their ethical 'lapses' are far, far, worse.

Posted by: cpwdc

What?! Deflection attempt I dare say. There have certainly been issues with both Repubs and Dems. Several repubs have in fact been found guilty of some pretty bad stuff. (And some dems as well over the years.) But, what the **&^& are you talking about - what facts do you want to provide for this statement?

Posted by: sagedutch | February 3, 2009 1:22 PM

Much bigger than the failure to pay taxes- Daschle was recently on the Health Insurance payroll- not good.

Dean would be a good choice since he is qualified- but, since this position was a thank you for endorsements from big figures within the Dem party (Richardson, Napalatino, Kennedy('s neice), would have been Edwards as well) there are others who are less connected to getting Barak selected over HRC for the nomination as well. That way it looks less political.

By the way- one female selection for SOS made it through the process pretty well- I guess "old fashioned politics" wasn't from her side...

Posted by: nycLeon | February 3, 2009 1:21 PM

People are taking responsibility, finally. Good for Obama. That is change I can believe in.

Now only the old Republican guard needs to come clean, too. Their ethical 'lapses' are far, far, worse.

Posted by: cpwdc | February 3, 2009 1:09 PM

Can you spell self-delusion?

Let's see what magic Obama has wrought so far:

Richardson - Withdrawn due to imminent indictment.
Daschel - Withdrawn, - tax evasion. Married to Lockheed lobbyist.
Performance Czar - withdrawn - tax evasion.
Treasury - an admitted tax evader or moron, you choose.
Treasury #2 - Goldman Sachs lobbyist.
AG - A Chicago machine operative who helped arrange pardons for terrorists, felons and fugitives. One of which at least was called a corrupt act by the head of the FBI. Barred FBI & CIA sharing info prior to 9/11.
Defense #2 - Raytheon lobbyist.
State - The Cattle Futures Queen herself.
Lobbyists - at least 15 others now appointed.

Change you can believe in...if you are a moron.

Hopium Dopium.

Posted by: JoeDBrown | February 3, 2009 1:20 PM

Obama wanted him, period.

It was the republicans who stopped him.

So, no, this is not his highness taking care of anything.

It was not you, the little people calling the politicians. It was all politics in the closed door room where they all met to haggle about how to distribute the power and money for the filthy rich.


Posted by: cintronlourdes | February 3, 2009 1:20 PM

When Daschle withdrew his name from nomination, did he give a $100 bill to Obama and say "Keep the change."?

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | February 3, 2009 1:20 PM

Good for him and good for Obama. It's too bad if Daschle could have done some good in the health arena, but maybe this sends a message to future wannabes; you need a clean record. What was he thinking owing far more in taxes than most of his employees at HHS or the people going without health insurance could hope to make in a year or even two years. He can be the poster child like Zoe Baird, et al with their nanny-gate. Learn from the Daschle experience; you can be public service minded or you can soak up the excess cash that floats around the influence pedlars in DC, but you can't do both. It's back to "millionaires row" for Daschle where he can now collect money to work against reforming healthcare. Mark my words, we'll be seeing him out there as an obstacle now.

Posted by: blankspace | February 3, 2009 1:19 PM

Why can't we find anyone who pays their taxes, or hires a good accountant?!

Posted by: hiberniantears | February 3, 2009 1:18 PM

Now get rid of Pelosi and Hoyer

Posted by: YourVote4ChangeWasWasted | February 3, 2009 1:18 PM

Much as I admire Mr. Daschle, it is good that he withdrew. I regret it wasn't the President himself who requested it as soon as the news broke, though (likewise with Geithner). If you really want to change a culture like the one that is deeply embedded in Washington, you cannot equivocate on the standards when it comes to your friends. It only adds insult to injury to allow these Republicans the oportunity to appear to be setting the moral standard for this government.

Posted by: shangang | February 3, 2009 1:18 PM

This is great news. I have two questions for the national media, including this newspaper: 1) Why does this come as a surprise since Daschle has made millions peddling influence in Washington for several years, including influence peddling for the health care industry he would have regulated at DHHS?; and 2) Why are you still fixated on his back taxes when the conflict of interest story is incredibly more substantive and more important? Please do some investigative work and get this story right.

Posted by: maxfli68 | February 3, 2009 1:17 PM

Dashel. Clinton, Pelosi and Reid - must have controlling interest in a Lumber mill where they make the 2X4's that the Republicans use to hit them in the head with. I wonder if gift wrapping is extra?

Posted by: mdsinc | February 3, 2009 1:16 PM

This is the only good result. I think some good will become of this in the notion that no one - no matter how valuable they are perceived to be - is above the law. Otherwise, this would have been a Leona Helmsey moment where only the little people pay taxes.

Not to enjoy someone's downfall, but rejoice! Some measure of integrity has been reintroduced into the system.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | February 3, 2009 1:15 PM

Campaign rhetoric meets the real world. In fairness to President Obama, the closest he has ever come to the world in which politicians can soak up favors and money from groups trying to influence the government were his book tours. He even wrote his own books, something most politicians don't do.

This notwithstanding, Daschle's nomination was a mistake. Failure to pay over $100,000 in taxes is not a small mistake. It isn't something any average citizen would be allowed to get away with, and it's a little disturbing that not one but three key nominees by the new President have had this kind of problem.

Posted by: jbritt3 | February 3, 2009 1:13 PM

Children: This is how the staffing process always goes, only Obama is doing it more quickly than ever before so that we can all get to work rescuing this country. Ergo, it seems like a pileup when it is actually the cloud of dust that surrounds any swift action.

He'll be achieving success while all you "helpful" folks in the opposition are wondering what happened [and still out of ideas].

Posted by: mobedda | February 3, 2009 1:13 PM

"ChangeWhat has a long shady history of questionable assumptions, judgment and misdirected comments. His statements are no more than a reflection of the man himself.

Posted by: ChangeWhat"

There. Fixed that for ya.

Posted by: mikem1 | February 3, 2009 1:13 PM

Dems are having a hard time finding honest people. Surprise!! Change we can believe in. Barf!!

Posted by: delusional1 | February 3, 2009 1:12 PM

"This is sad"

No it's not. He is an ultra partisan SNAKE. And Obama's track record thus far is abysmal.


Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 3, 2009 1:12 PM

If President Obama keeps nominating people who don't feel it necessary to regularly pay their taxes we may get this stimulus bill paid for in back taxes and penalties!

Posted by: qwerqwer1 | February 3, 2009 1:12 PM

I sure the media darlings are scrambling for the best way to cover their Messiah. Maybe it's just an adjustment for him after dumpster diving in Chicago politics for so long.

Posted by: tcdifla | February 3, 2009 1:11 PM

Daschle knew the issue would be a big one, but did not advise Obama's team about it until late in the process. He deceived his boss. People considered for such posts know what issues will come up and still try to sneak in (and sometimes it works). Certainly there are some cases in which someone does not imagine what small details in their past will be drudged up should they be nominated, and that sadly keeps some people out of important posts, but this is not such a case. Daschle should feel ashamed and Obama should say good riddance.

Posted by: Sutter | February 3, 2009 1:11 PM

This is a good early test for Obama.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | February 3, 2009 1:10 PM

People are taking responsibility, finally. Good for Obama. That is change I can believe in.

Now only the old Republican guard needs to come clean, too. Their ethical 'lapses' are far, far, worse.

Posted by: cpwdc | February 3, 2009 1:09 PM

This is sad, but he did the right thing. Now there's no way anyone can convince me he didn't have an inkling, at some during the performance of his duties of that position, that his mind didn't say:
"My old job at the U.S. Senate cautioned me to always check on things that felt a bit gooey in my gut. I'd better check to see if this is really 'free' or will nail me to the floor later.
That Daschle didn't do those things suggests to me that he didn't want to know the answer, for one; he was making good money, after years in the Senate, at a rate of pay less than he was probably worth in the corporate world, and he liked having more dough. So, he paid the price. So has Richardson, who looks much more suspect. The Killifer debacle (which I'm not really aware of), would make three embarrassments that Obama has had to absorb.
He loses ground on his promises to have a circle of folks with clean pants -- no Washington, D.C., mud. Sorry, but three flubs, and what I consider a very questionable appointment:
Leon Panetta at Director of Central Intelligence Agency appears to be really goofy. Obama has yet to appoint someone that will cause a stir ... some man or woman clearly on the left wing of the left wing party's spectrum.
Someone who will advance left wing causes, and really get the Republicans all in twisted underwear. He needs to pay the Left Wing elements of the Party their due now. So, put someone up there who will shake things up some more.

Posted by: zennhead614wheatland | February 3, 2009 1:09 PM

The republicans have some nerve criticizing anyone for anything!

Posted by: fluxgirl | February 3, 2009 12:59 PM


why do you assume the people who are criticizing obama/daschle/co. are republicans?

you dont need to be partisan to think this stinks

i voted for the bamster and his act is already wearing thin in my eyes

Posted by: dummypants | February 3, 2009 1:08 PM

Hey nicekid --

Ditto to everything you said.

Posted by: solsticebelle | February 3, 2009 1:07 PM

To answer bsimon's question: no, I'm sure Dean won't get the job. He seemed like the obvious choice for me from the beginning, but Obama has gone out of his way to slight Dean at every opportunity. I don't think there's a place anywhere in the Obama administration for him.

Posted by: ManUnitdFan | February 3, 2009 1:06 PM

I would caution against a little Schadenfreude festival, no matter what your political leanings. Let me remind you that this nation is in desperate need of health care reform, and it's possible that Daschle's Senate background might have facilitated some movement on that. Somone savvy about the Senate is necessary in the HHS post, especially since the GOP only has to block things to keep us the status quo and keep people falling off the health insurance coverage grid.

Posted by: AnotherHagman | February 3, 2009 1:06 PM

Where was this vetting of the Bush Administration appointees? Just another pony and dog show put on by the GOP as if they haven't done the same thing as Daschle. So because Daschle belongs to the party that *believes* in taxes, he gets further scrutiny. Let's put some of these GOP folks under the microscope.

Posted by: SteadyState | February 3, 2009 1:06 PM

Howard Dean was always the best choice for this job. Hopefully President Obama will name him now.

Posted by: barbaraB1 | February 3, 2009 1:06 PM

Hmmm....seems the whole review process is pretty taxing for Barry's nominee's...

Posted by: tom_k47 | February 3, 2009 1:06 PM

I like Daschle, and I like Obama, but that heavens Daschle has withdrawn. This was not going to go well.

Posted by: mobedda | February 3, 2009 1:06 PM

Taxes aside I was more worried about Daschle's dealings in the medical industry not to mention his families ties, none of which seem focused on making healthcare more affordable but instead a way of making money.

We need a reformer, someone who wants to change our current healthcare system for the better, not someone who uses it for profit. Daschle's a nice guy but the wrong guy for this job. Obama, pick someone who will make a difference.

Posted by: bevjims1 | February 3, 2009 1:05 PM

Obama has a long shady history of questionable associations, judgment and unsavory connections. His cabinet choices are no more than a reflection of the man himself.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 3, 2009 1:05 PM

Good news!

Geithner should have also withdrawn (or been withdrawn).

Posted by: rw-c | February 3, 2009 1:05 PM

I salute T. Daschle for withdrawing from his nomination to be the Health Secretary. I believed there are more Americans who can best serve the people without issues against them.

Posted by: niles2001 | February 3, 2009 1:05 PM

Now it is time for the Treasury Secretary to resign.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | February 3, 2009 1:05 PM

Daschle said that he could not afford the pay and benefits cut.

Posted by: AWWNats | February 3, 2009 1:05 PM

Three nominees with tax problems? What is going on with the vetting team? This Administration is like the gang that couldn't shoot straight...

This comes on the heels of watching BHO basically beg House members to support the stimulus plan and still lose every single GOP member and 11 from his own party!!!!!

Obama is a smart guy, but he is in way, way, way over his head... heaven help us all.

This is why you don't put a guy who has never held a real job in the White House...

Posted by: Ryknow | February 3, 2009 1:05 PM

I don't get it...for all the time, care and attention to detail that symbolized the Obama campaign and activities leading up to January 20th there seems to be one misstep after another and plenty of ammunition for the naysayers (*cough* Rush Limbaugh *cough*). What exactly was the transition team doing during the vetting process that they missed this? I really would have like to see Daschle at HHS, but there was no way that he was going to get confirmed without Obama spending a ton of political capital that he is going to need over the next 12-18 months.

Posted by: skipper7 | February 3, 2009 1:05 PM

summicron1, I'd just like to point out one thing. It isn't just rich people! That you even utter such a comment goes on to demonstrate your liberalism.

Posted by: PartySandwich | February 3, 2009 1:05 PM

hopefully this makes nationalized health care harder to pass.

that crap is going to bankrupt the country if they get it through

Posted by: dummypants | February 3, 2009 1:05 PM

I think Obama's vetting team needs to be restructured...

Posted by: rusty6 | February 3, 2009 1:04 PM

Even aside from the tax issue, Daschle was an absolutely awful choice. He was in the pocket of the "health care" industry had no interest in any kind of change that didn't enrich his buddies.

For God's sake, could the clowns in Washington (both parties) just ONCE think about what's best for the country instead of what's best for the megacorporations?

I am so disappointed in Obama.

Posted by: nicekid | February 3, 2009 1:04 PM

You are a scoundrel sir. Goodbye.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | February 3, 2009 1:04 PM

Thanks Daschle for wasting three weeks and giving the retarded Party ammunition. Well done Senator.

Posted by: AngryLiberal | February 3, 2009 1:03 PM

I'm glad he stepped down. There's no way Daschle could move forward after Killifer pulled out over far less.

Daschle was a bad pick from the beginning anyway - a classic Senator-turned-lobbyist.

It's time for Howard Dean!

Posted by: ElrodinTennessee | February 3, 2009 1:02 PM

I just had a great idea for a "sting" operation to collect back taxes. Just tell well-to-do people they're under consideration for a high-level government job, and watch those unpaid taxes pour in!

Posted by: hoganandbligh | February 3, 2009 1:02 PM

glad to see he was man enough to withdraw. wonder how Geithner is feeling right now. wimpy? I'll look forward to a better, cleaner, nomination.

Posted by: PartySandwich | February 3, 2009 1:01 PM


Posted by: waterfrontproperty | February 3, 2009 1:01 PM


i am a very strong obama supporter, an "obamamaniac" if you will, but this business of rich people not paying their taxes is getting really, really old.

Find people who know how to run their personal finances, will ya? Lets put an end to the monied aristocracy that is running this country without having any responsibilities. It smacks of the sort of French Royalty abuses that led to the revolution.

Posted by: summicron1 | February 3, 2009 1:01 PM

Does Dean now get the job?

Posted by: bsimon1 | February 3, 2009 1:01 PM

The SNAKE can slither back to his hole. His tax loop hole.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 3, 2009 1:01 PM


Posted by: schmetterlingtoo | February 3, 2009 1:00 PM

Thank goodness he withdrew. It looked for a moment there that the good ole boys were going to take care of one of their own.

Posted by: ghchuck | February 3, 2009 1:00 PM

good riddance. Who's next? Yes we can!!!!!!

Posted by: delusional1 | February 3, 2009 12:59 PM

The republicans have some nerve criticizing anyone for anything!

Posted by: fluxgirl | February 3, 2009 12:59 PM

This isn't exactly the kind of "Change" the Obama was speaking of. There is something wrong with the President's judgement.

Posted by: Tupac_Goldstein | February 3, 2009 12:58 PM

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