February 3rd, 2009
01:11 PM ET
5 years ago

BREAKING: Daschle withdraws

Daschle has withdrawn his nomination to lead the Health and Human Services Department.
Daschle has withdrawn his nomination to lead the Health and Human Services Department.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Sen. Tom Daschle has asked President Obama to withdraw his nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services, according to a written statement from the White House.

“This morning, Tom Daschle asked me to withdraw his nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services," President Obama said in the statement. "I accept his decision with sadness and regret."

In his own statement, Daschle said he did not want to be a "distraction."

"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 said.

Watch: Robert Gibbs answer questions about Daschle

Full Obama and Daschle statements after the jump

Statement from Tom Daschle:

“I have just informed the President that I am withdrawing my name from consideration for Secretary of Health and Human Services.

To be chosen by President Obama to run the Department of Health and Human Services and to lead the reform of America’s health care system is 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.

Right now, I am not that leader, and will not be a distraction. The focus of Congress should be on the urgent business of moving the President’s economic agenda forward, including affordable health care for every American.

We need the best care in America to be available to all Americans. We need this effort to succeed. Lives and livelihoods are at stake.

I will not be the architect of America’s health system reform, but I remain one of its most fervent supporters. Thank you.”

Statement from President Obama

“This morning, Tom Daschle asked me to withdraw his nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services. I accept his decision with sadness and regret.

Tom Daschle has devoted his life to public service and health care reform, so that every American has access to health care they can afford. I had hoped that he could bring this passion and expertise to bear to finally achieve that goal, which is so essential to the progress of our economy and the well-being of businesses and families across our nation.

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.

Now we must move forward, with our plan to lift this economy and put people back to work.”


Filed under: Tom Daschle
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. yasmine

    it is sad...Tom Daschle was a great candidate...I got news for America..these are politicians...not preist.................I would rather deal with an experienced person for the that that finally did pay up his taxes than one that lied to us for 8 years... about everything including sending our sons and daughters to be slaughtered for no reason...

    February 3, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. Scott Hughes in Atlanta

    I'm a huge Obama supporter. But I think Daschle had to go. If he didn't, then we might as well be a Bush 3rd term.

    February 3, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. Joan , Ontario

    Wouldn't it be interesting if all of the politicians on both sides were audited ? I bet there would be some juicy tidbits on the Republican side too. Remember the saying, "Those who cast the first stone". Mr. Daschle would have been an outstanding Secretary of Health. Your loss. I hope there will now be close scrutiny on politicians on both sides of the aisle.

    February 3, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. Deborah

    And another one bites the dust.............

    Good luck finding a Democrat that isn't a criminal!

    Too bad he isn't spending the Jail time you and I would be!

    February 3, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. Matt

    Please. If there was anyone the GOP was going to attack hardcore it was Daschle. For one, he made a lot of GOPer enemies when he was in congress. For another, they don't want universal health care...healthy minorities and poor people scare the crap out of the GOP.

    February 3, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  6. cobra

    I wonder how many more crooks Hussain Obama is going to try to drag into the government, guess you have to give him credit as crooks is all he knows.

    February 3, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. Matt

    Let's think about this , if Mr. Bush forgot to pay his taxes, would Daschel be forgiving? Kerry? Clinton? Pelosi? What weak minded leaders we have, it's a shame.

    February 3, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Sonny

    Obama's lack of judgement again. Oh boy. Thanks America. A rough start for mr "change"

    February 3, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  9. sandy

    Well America, hope everybody is happy now!

    February 3, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. Sue

    OH boy now CNN has somethiing else to beat into the ground for the next week........I bet if you let loose the investiagors on the whole Senate and House members you'd find out they are all guilty of cheating the IRS......most americans at one time or another have screwed the IRS (maybe not to the same amount as Daschle and then again maybe some even more)........let the innocent be the first to throw the first stone..........the rest of you sit back and shut your mouth.

    February 3, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. Rick

    Two points come out of this.

    1. I remember the flak McCain got when it was questioned how much Palin was vetted. I have to question Obama's vetting process. This is 3 major positions with tax problems, though eithner survived. Then there was the Richardson fiasco. The inexperience of never having been in an actual executive position is really beginning to show.

    2. Maybe this is a wake up call for some real simplification of the tax system. Very few of us actually pay our taxes without having to pay someone so we can pay our taxes. And apparently, even that's not enough, even for those who would seem smart enough to know better.

    February 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. Larry

    I'm sorry to see him go

    I think he would have done a great job

    Funny how Bush and Cheney can screw the American people out of BILLIONS for eight years

    Kill thousands of our kids

    And nobody says a word

    Yet a good man like Daschle gets beat up over the most common of tax violations

    THEY are all DOING IT ... Give me a break

    There is no true justice in this country

    February 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. The Grammar Czar

    All these silly, silly "distracting" felonies...

    Between Rangel, Geithner, and now Daschle all getting snared in the web of hideously-complicated tax codes, maybe the Obama Administration might want to take a closer look at that Fair Tax Act. It would sure make getting cabinet nominations into position a lot easier...

    February 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. down with corporate politics

    Obama New Speak 2009 instead of 1984.

    transparency: I will act all concerned after the media exposes something

    change: same old DC and Chicago scheming and politics

    responsibility: I wasn't there – blame the person and not my vetting process

    February 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. Matt

    Now we must move forward and ask for his resignation. Mr. Change.

    February 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. enough already

    God help America! We expect everyone to be perfect! We are doomed to fail

    February 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. Sarta

    when a person is nominated, it is up to to the person to tell Obama the truth , pay off all the debts, clean their and their spouses houses. .
    Otherwise, we are going to loose time & energy, not to mention a good candidate.
    NYT 's bias cost a good candidate for this post.
    We don't need distraction- so it is better to let Richardson, Dashle & Nancy go.
    I am sure Obama will come up with best candidates for these jobs.
    A door closes and a window opens.

    February 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. Noah

    Jan- Obama did NOT set a high bar. Don't you get it? He now has had 3 of his nominees step down because of their inability to follow the law we are all held to. He has had several other nominees who were annointed despite also having huge issues in their past (Geithner and Holder). The problem is not that Obama has set the bar high. He wanted these people to be in his cabinet but he clearly did not vet them nearly enough. The real problem is with his picks. Obama is proving that he is nothing more than a regular politician despite what his devout followers want to convince themselves of

    February 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. MZ

    Shame on all of you; the White House, the vetting process and the Democrats in the Senate, even though I am USUALLY a supporter of the Democratic Party.

    February 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. al

    We need some one like Dsschle,health care is more importent hope he will change is mind fight back

    February 3, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
1 2 3