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Daschle Aims to Stay Engaged

Former Senate minority leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) isn't running for president in 2008 -- yet. "It interests me," Daschle acknowledged. "I don't have any plans to run, but I am going to keep my options open."


Tom Daschle lost his South Dakota Senate seat last year. Will the former top Senate Democrat seek the White House in 2008? (File photo)

Daschle would not commit to a national race in an interview Friday at his new office at Alston & Bird in Washington, D.C.  But he gave every indication that he has been thinking long and hard about a run for the White House.

Being out of the Senate, Daschle said, has given him a broader perspective on issues. "It is not uncommon for a candidate running for president to cite a bill by its cosponsored name," he said, perhaps in a subtle shot at Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D), who was accused by his detractors of constantly speaking in Senate-ese during the 2004 campaign. "That doesn't mean a thing to someone in Aberdeen, South Dakota," Daschle added.

He outlined four criteria that the party's 2008 nominee must have in order to reclaim the White House.  First, and most important, is being a "candidate who can connect." Daschle explained, "A big portion of any party's success at any level is likeability."  He attributed much of President Bush's success to his affability. ("George Bush, for reasons not entirely clear to me, is a very likeable person with the electorate.")

Daschle's other -- somewhat obvious -- criteria for a 2008 win include doing more to energize the party base, reaching out to independent voters and refining turnout operations.

As for his own personal interests, Daschle seemed to signal that he was essentially in the 2004 presidential race until Democrats lost control of the Senate in the 2002 election.

"I was shaken by that, I was surprised by it," Daschle said, adding that in the two days immediately following the election a number of his colleagues asked him to stay on and seek a fourth Senate term.  He ultimately chose to do so, explaining: "The feeling was that [the Senate] was where I was really needed and there would be time to look for national office later."

Daschle is making moves that seem to indicate the future is now. He has reopened his leadership political action committee -- now known as New Leadership for America -- and claims to have raised $700,000 through it so far this year.

Daschle is also keeping an active travel schedule with a scheduled address at the Iowa Democratic Party's annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner on Nov. 5.  A few days before that he will be at Northwestern University to make a speech on foreign policy. Daschle is also seeking to bolster his policy bona fides by keeping an office at the Center for American Progress.

The PAC, the travel and the think-tank position, he said, are moves to bolster the party he worked with for nearly three decades in Congress. "After the [2004] election as I thought about what I wanted to do, there wasn't thirty seconds of deliberation about my desire to stay engaged," he said.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 24, 2005; 12:41 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Ohio Senate: Hackett vs. Brown in Dem. Primary

Comments

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Posted by: sssssssss | April 4, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

asdasdsdaasd "post a comment"

Posted by: sdaads | April 4, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Sen Daschle will be a great candidate and president. He has the ability to raise money, and the common man appeal that will be needed in the next election. He brings experience, and integrity.

Posted by: erickson | January 28, 2006 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Um, Daschle lost his seat in the Senate last year. There is no precedent for a defeated office holder to get elected president. Joe Biden's candidacy is a joke, but Daschle's is such a bad joke, I can hardly laugh. The only way he could be a viable candidate is if he reclaimed his seat in the Senate. I guess maybe Gray Davis could be his vice presidential candidate.

Posted by: dole4pineapple | January 9, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I am supporting Daschle for 2008 as of now. He is the only Democrat that I would consider supporting over Hillary Clinton.

I'm from Florida and Daschle has always had my respect because he is honest, real and speaks from the heart-- something you never see in politics these days.

Daschle in 2008!

Posted by: Josh | October 26, 2005 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Daschle for President in 2008. No it wouldn't work. However, in my humble opinion, he should go back to South Dakota and take back the Senate seat that the Bush regime bought. Now the people of S.D. can see what they got, a hightly inefective Senator who although his party is in control of everything under the political sun is a just a little pawn in the Rep. schemes. Luckily they didn't lose the Air Bases to the Base Closure Committee but he had no part in their retention. That was his big push in his campaign that he could influence Bush to keep the Air Bases. Next time around they will be gone and hopefully so will the Senator who was bought sealed and delivered to Washington by that outstanding American, Karl Rove. Isn't great to be in America.

Posted by: PE | October 25, 2005 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Tom Daschle is real-people,he's honest, humble, and full of integrity. He lost his office because he was slimed by the republican dirty tricks machine. He would make a great President. But history seems to indicate that except in a few rare occasions, a Senator cannot be elected. Is it worth trying? Better to back a better bet, like Mark Warner of Virginia, and have people like Daschle (and Bradley!) join the inner circle and/or Cabinet.

Posted by: hs | October 25, 2005 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Tom Daschle is real-people,he's honest, humble, and full of integrity. He lost his office because he was slimed by the republican dirty tricks machine. He would make a great President. But history seems to indicate that except in a few rare occasions, a Senator cannot be elected. Is it worth trying? Better to back a better bet, like Mark Warner of Virginia, and have people like Daschle (and Bradley!) join the inner circle and/or Cabinet.

Posted by: hs | October 25, 2005 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Tom Daschle is real-people,he's honest, humble, and full of integrity. He lost his office because he was slimed by the republican dirty tricks machine. He would make a great President. But history seems to indicate that except in a few rare occasions, a Senator cannot be elected. Is it worth trying? Better to back a better bet, like Mark Warner of Virginia, and have people like Daschle (and Bradley!) join the inner circle and/or Cabinet.

Posted by: hs | October 25, 2005 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Tom Daschle is real-people,he's honest, humble, and full of integrity. He lost his office because he was slimed by the republican dirty tricks machine. He would make a great President. But history seems to indicate that except in a few rare occasions, a Senator cannot be elected. Is it worth trying? Better to back a better bet, like Mark Warner of Virginia, and have people like Daschle (and Bradley!) join the inner circle and/or Cabinet.

Posted by: hs | October 25, 2005 12:04 PM | Report abuse

$700,000, you raise *exactly* the right issue. Is he Presidential material?

There seems little evidence of it.

And his extreme partisanship, like capturing the Senate for his party by offering pork to sway Jeffords to abandon the Republicans, is not the brand of politics this nation needs right now.

Posted by: $700,000 | October 24, 2005 9:08 PM | Report abuse

$700,000, you raise *exactly* the right issue. Is he Presidential material?

There seems little evidence of it.

And his extreme partisanship, like capturing the Senate for his party by offering pork to sway Jeffords to abandon the Republicans, is not the brand of politics this nation needs right now.

Posted by: $700,000 | October 24, 2005 9:06 PM | Report abuse

$700,000, you raise *exactly* the right issue. Is he Presidential material?

There seems little evidence of it.

And his extreme partisanship, like capturing the Senate for his party by offering pork to sway Jeffords to abandon the Republicans, is not the brand of politics this nation needs right now.

Posted by: $700,000 | October 24, 2005 9:04 PM | Report abuse

By the way, Daschle is the man. I don't know if he's Presidential material, but I think that he's about as genuine and kind of a guy as there is in this business.

Posted by: $700,000 | October 24, 2005 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Raised $700,000 or has $700,000 that he transfered from DashPAC.

Its "inside baseball" but it's been interesting to compare some of the PACs to others. Ones like Kerry and Daschle seem to actually be giving money out. Others like Bayh and Hillary seem to just be stuffing it in a mattress somewhere. Still others like Edwards and Biden are dead on arrival.

Also saw this in the NY Post: http://www.nypost.com/news/nationalnews/56014.htm

Posted by: $700,000 | October 24, 2005 8:10 PM | Report abuse

If Tom runs, he's my guy. Daschle has unmatched abilities in retail politics, which gives him more than a fighting chance in Iowa. I've personally met Tom many times over the years at town halls and community BBQ's in South Dakota. And it didn't matter whether he was Congressman or the Senate Minority Leader, Tom stood there after every speech and talked to every single person in the room who wanted to talked to him. Every time. He would sometimes stand there for over 3 hours. Name another politician who does that.

Tom Daschle is the nicest guy in the world, and he's also one of the toughest, shrewdest politicians out there. It's an rare dichotomy that made him one of the most effective Senate leaders in American history. Why do you think the Bush and the GOP made him their #1 target in '04?

Posted by: Neal Tapio | October 24, 2005 7:16 PM | Report abuse

I have decided after much consideration and consultation with family, friends and close advisors that I won't seek the Democratic nomination in 2008. I made this decision in order to help people like Tom Daschle have a clearer picture of the upcoming field.

I am, however, still pondering a run on the Republican ticket. It will depend on the outcome of my SEC background check.

Today on EWM: "The Twelve Days of Miers: An inappropriately early holiday motif song parody/commentary."

http://www.eyewitnessmuse.com/diary.php?p=173

Posted by: The Eyewitness Muse | October 24, 2005 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Not a shot at Kerry, but at Al Gore and his awkward "what about Dingel-Norwood, Governor?" shot at Bush in a 2000 debate.

Posted by: mordish | October 24, 2005 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I love Daschle, but he lost his Senate seat AS MINORITY LEADER in his own state. You can just bounce back from that less than 4 years later and consider running for President. Feingold all the way.

Check out this blog:

http://agendagap.blogspot.com

Posted by: Adam Shpeen | October 24, 2005 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Saw Sen. Daschle at the U2 concernt last week. No entourage, and a scalper came up to him to try to buy extra tickets. Makes you feel for the guy when he doesn't get groupie love anymore.

Posted by: s.a. | October 24, 2005 1:06 PM | Report abuse

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