Gibbs Continues Obama Defense of Daschle
By Michael D. Shear
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs defended embattled HHS secretary-designate Tom Daschle Monday, casting the controversy as nothing more than another innocent mistake by a Cabinet nominee.
"He discovered a mistake, mistakes he'd made on his taxes, and he's paid now what he owed and paid interest on that," Gibbs said of the former long-time senator.
Gibbs also predicted that senators on the Finance Committee would consider the mistake in the context of Daschle's long career, and conclude that the tax problem should not disqualify him from the Cabinet post.
"I think the Senate will lay a serious, but corrected, mistake against that three-decade career in public service," Gibbs said. "And, in the end, the Finance Committee and the Senate as a whole will vote to extend his career in public service so that he can take on the very important task to America to reform that health care system and cut our costs."
Gibbs said that Obama is "not insensitive" to the embarrassing nature of Daschle's tax problem. But he said it does not undercut the administration's message on the need for people to take personal responsibility for their actions.
"I don't believe it does. Nobody's perfect," Gibbs said. "It was a serious mistake, one that he caught and remedied."
Web Politics Editor
February 2, 2009; 3:50 PM ET
Categories: Barack Obama , Cabinet
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