(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.