February 3rd, 2009
03:18 PM ET
5 years ago

Daschle withdrawal stuns Democrats

Former Senate colleagues of Tom Daschle said Tuesday they were shocked by his sudden decision to withdraw from consideration as President Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Former Senate colleagues of Tom Daschle said Tuesday they were shocked by his sudden decision to withdraw from consideration as President Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services.

(CNN) – Former Senate colleagues of Tom Daschle said Tuesday they were shocked by his sudden decision to withdraw from consideration as President Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services.

"I'm in shock. I didn't know that. I don't know what happened," said California Sen. Diane Feinstein. "I talked to him the night before last, and he showed no signs of withdrawing."

Some, like Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus, said they still believed Daschle would have survived the nomination process. "I was a little stunned,” said the Montana senator. Baucus and the rest of the Finance Committee met privately with Daschle last night to address the questions over his failure to pay some taxes. “I thought he was going to get confirmed. I thought - he's a good man and I thought he'd be confirmed. I'm surprised."

Listen: Feinstein 'in shock'


Sen. John Kerry said the former Senate Majority Leader was disqualified on a technicality. “We're getting silly here, and I think people ought to step back and measure these things against the larger picture,” he said. “He's made his decision, I respect his decision and we go on from there."

Listen: Kerry reacts


But GOP Sen. John Cornyn said Daschle “did a service to President Obama” by withdrawing his name. Cornyn was one of a number of Republicans to oppose Daschle’s nomination over the tax issue.

Listen: Cornyn reacts to Daschle


"I think it really would have looked bad for the Senate to close ranks around a fellow member and sort of reinforce the idea that they were going to protect a member as part of the good ole boys club," said Cornyn.


Filed under: Tom Daschle
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. Capt Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    I think it is pay-back time. We need to GO after BUSH, CHENEY, ROVE and make all rethuglicans the ultimate example of why you should not commit crimes in office!

    It's Howard Dean time now he should be the next guy for this post.

    February 3, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. Mari

    Its the right thing to do. I am disappointed that Daschle accepted this appointment with his knowledge of the very large elephant in his room!

    February 3, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. Seth

    To Trish

    "Would they rather he picked some moron with no experience?"

    Uh, sorry, he's already President, and you apparently voted for him. Just kidding, but Obama has done a worse job at appointments than Bush, and no, I'm not kidding.

    February 3, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. aliou

    Daschle did the things he had to do. But repuks don't have to rejoice. now appoint Dean, Kerry or a black woman (a REALLY BLACK MD as a HHS).

    February 3, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. C Spurgeon

    Its a good thing. We don't need that old politician type in the mix and frankly a few more need to go ...Had it up to here with opportunistic, dishonest politicians on both sides of the aisle...Term limits need to be considered.

    Remeber 2010 is coming. Lets get rid of some obstructionist Republicans andsome dishonest on both sides. Vote them out.

    February 3, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. Peter

    I believe that Daschle was perfect for the job...John Cornyn is a moron and deserves to be sent to the mental house

    February 3, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  7. Bob

    christine February 3rd, 2009 3:03 pm ET
    It would serve the republicans well to know that we the people do not forget that the (they?) did not have a solution for eight years. This attempt to block our president is appauling (appalling?). We will not forget that it was these self-serving actions that got us here in the first place.
    We also will not forget in 4 or 8 years from now that they are also prolonged (prolonging?) urgently needed progress for media talking points.
    ----------
    It would serve "christine" well to know that "We, the other people," do not forget that Democrats know diddly about spelling and grammar. LOL!

    February 3, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. malclave

    I'm hardly an Obama supporter... but I just don't get this withdrawal. If ignoring taxes is not a problem for Treasury, why should it be for HHS? And there are plenty of other lobbyists already in place.

    I suspect that the Obama administration is just trying to preserve their facade of "change". They're hoping that by withdrawing Daschle, the (deserved) criticism will go away before it really gets started.

    February 3, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. Ryan Erik de Nuevo Mexico

    Good Riddance to this man who is Proudly apart of the GOOD OL BOY NETWORK!!!!

    February 3, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. Chris

    Daschle is a crook..same as Geithner...same as Rangel. Two different standards. One for the politicians and another for you and me......

    Besides there is NOTHING great he would have accomplished but Nationalize health care and bring our care down to the level of Canada where people wait 3 months for an operation. The only solution to lowering costs is the FREE MARKET. High health care costs are attributed to too much government regulation already. Gee why has lasik eye surgery which cost $3,000 about 5 years ago now cost $800...because its not covered by insurance.

    February 3, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. Bill

    Our president seems to be having a hard time finding an honest democrat.

    February 3, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. Al

    Mr. Daschle should be applauded for doing the honest thing. Is an example for all those continue to serve although knowing that they have done wrong.

    February 3, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. Hank Pihl

    Daschle did the right thing withdrawing his name.
    I can't understand that he didn't know that he was accountable and
    responsible for his own action.
    Honest mistake that is BS.
    Other people go to jail for not paying taxes,and will also get a penalty
    on top of it.
    These people are not above the law,and he is not the only one.
    Who is next I ask you?

    February 3, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. Rick hughes

    Now lets check the rest of them! To bad Geitner was not such a man!He did not even pay his penalties and interest!What a jerk!

    February 3, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. Gilday

    There are about a thousand reasons why Obama would not be President or have such a friendly congress if it wasn't for Howard Dean! They need to grow up, get over petty BS, and get on to nominating him to HHS Sec. The notion of Bipartisanship or post partisan politics should not just apply to including friendly Republicans!

    February 3, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. ThomasNYC

    Rangel, Geithner, Daschle, Killefer...
    No wonder Democrats don't mind raising taxes. They don't seem to want to pay them so why not.

    February 3, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. R Wolf

    You people hear a media quote and make your own conclusions without even taking the time to find out what this situation is really all about. The media can talk you into anything. It's like little mice following the leader. Don't always take the media's word for everything. Delve into what this man really did, what good he could do for this Country and then make up your minds. Stop calling him names as you don't even know him. It's pathetic!

    February 3, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. Campian UK

    Adios!
    Obama's flaw nominees, PRICELESS!

    February 3, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. Obamalamadingdong

    One poster said: "Would they rather he picked some moron with no experience? " Let's face it, except for the "moron" part, that's what the slight majority of the electorate did in November - it was long said by the conservatives that executive experience - which includes picking a trusted and trustworthy executive cabinet - that experience matters. We see some of the pitfalls of attempting to govern by on the job training. It's showing up in the people he's trying to surround himself with - tax felons and partisan idealogues. In fleating moments of clarity, he has picked conservative minded folks, which should keep the ship aright in the waves to come. Do we not see the perils of moral relativism on display here? Let's all moveon - to a higher road of trustworthiness, stewardship, and unity.

    February 3, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. Danny in Chicago

    Ummm.....Marcia...... No matter HOW bad the democrats do – the Republicans will NEVER look like saints. They've killed our country.

    February 3, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. Katherine L Fujii

    Why go thru all this bull and take the abuse of the Republicans and holier then thou Democrates who created this mess we find ourselfes in? The Republicans with the help of so many gutless wonders from the Democratic side deserve a total meltdown of this country, they want to see us totally destroyed. If they can't play, they will take the ball home and so what it many people are left hold the bag of crap they left on the table. WE NEED TO END ALL HEALTH CARE FOR THE POLITIANS. LET THEM PAY FOR THEIR OWN PLANS AND PAY BID TIME JUST AS THE LITTLE PEOPLE DO.

    February 3, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. Bill Carson

    Good riddance to Daschle! The other tax cheats that the left's messiah should be run over too. The tax cheat that Obama wants for Sec. of Treasury should resign and Richardson should never get near the national stage again. What the heck is this loser Obama talking about? He was supporting Daschle even while Daschle was quiting! You're far gone when even the tax cheat knows it time to quit and you still want him!

    February 3, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  23. Glennis

    I have little use for these people who can't seem to pay their taxes, and are still being touted as the best that can be found for positions that directly relate to tax issues. What in the heck is going on here? These are people who are (or claim to be) knowledgeable enough to oversee these agencies and yet they aren't smart or careful enough to make sure they've paid their own taxes? I don't buy it. They should be ridden out of town on a rail. It's simply infuriating that even after admitting their "mistakes" they just get a slap on the wrist....or less.

    February 3, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. Mike

    Why dont we put a few billion into the IRS to stimulate them to check our elected politicians!THAT WOULD BE A MONEY MAKER!

    February 3, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  25. tee

    I hope someone investigate the republicans now
    You will need bleach to get their stains out.

    February 3, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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