February 3rd, 2009
03:18 PM ET
6 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. Perusing-Through

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

    Answer:
    Maybe Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel suggested to former Senate Leader Tom Daschle that his tax problems spanning from 2005 to 2007, and totaling $128,203 plus $11,964 in interest, is causing a drag on Obama's plans to getting his cabinet out of the starting block.

    February 3, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. Obama 2.0

    As I wrote in a previous post, It is unfortunate but the right thing to do.

    When we voted for Obama, we voted for a chage in how we do things in DC. That is what we expect and that is what the people we are trying to work with out here also expect. I am an independent and have worked hard to get obama in, this included bringing Republicans over, so it is not just that the president needs to work in a bipartisan way, it is that we out here are also and when we have stuff that comes up that smell like the same old same old then our friends call us on it. No question Dashelle is a great guy, and i am certain he will work in some capacity or another. But we have to do what is right, even when it hurts. The long run will be better for America. the next deal is the stimulus, I do not want Republicans to vote against it, I want them to insist on change to it. Take out the pork that does not stimulate for jobs and only put tax cuts that stimulate for jobs. all the other stuff we can do latter when we can see further.

    February 3, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  3. Axel

    "Maybe if all these politicians would pay their taxes we wouldn't need a bailout."

    Hmmmm? A government bailout for the government? That makes almost as much sense as bailing out businesses that have been over charging us for years. Why not? What does it matter anyway? We won't have to pay for it. Our great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren will. So yeah, let's waste some more money. I'm sure they won't mind. They haven't even been born yet.

    February 3, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  4. Brendose, Oceanside CA

    Why is it Feinstein seems to be "shocked" all the time? Does she not get the memo? Does she not read emails, the internet, or any other type of mainstream media outlet???

    February 3, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  5. at

    If Sen. Tom Daschle loves this country, and I know he does, he should put his name back for consideration as Secretary of Health & Human Services. I hope the President will not accept his withdrawal. We need Mr. Daschle.

    February 3, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  6. MBFLA

    This was the correct thing to do. Any of the rest of you in Congress with skeletons in your closets regarding unpaid taxes (on both sides of the aisle) might consider cleaning them up now. Maybe we won't need as big a bail out if you all would pay up now!

    February 3, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  7. Janet-NY

    I feel really terrible with what most Democratic Senators and Congressmen who have not shocked with Tax evasion of Tom Daschle, but his withdrawing by his name. Even though TAX EVASION
    IS CRIMINAL.

    February 3, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  8. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Where are the people who helped HOPE in the vetting process? Daschle did America a favor. Restored the SENATE'S dignity. He will gain more respect for admitting his "innocent mistake" by doing the right thing.

    February 3, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  9. Humored In Texas

    Senator Cornyn dispensing advice is like getting a facial from a leper!

    February 3, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  10. Karen

    Daschle should have gotten out weeks ago. period!!

    February 3, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  11. Really, Really

    To all you apologist...if it were you who didn't claim your limo and driver (as well as questionable charitable contributions) you would be jail...and Daschle has no sympathy for tax cheats:

    http://obamanoms.com/?p=244

    Furthermore, people blindly supporting President Obama need to keep open their eyes...all his promises of change are going down the toilet...it's just the same game. I had hoped, but I was wrong again.

    February 3, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  12. Sye the Pychic

    I love all the partisan bickering,while that crook Paulson is making a gettaway with billions.Check his offshore acct.and see how much untaxed cash he has stashed in there.

    February 3, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  13. Darko

    They obviously found something else that was even more damaging...

    the fact that he made $10 MILLION

    February 3, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  14. Val in MA

    Can we petition for Obama's resignation and have a re-election?

    Where is the change that Obama has promised? He's failed on the biggest promise to the American people. He was elected because he promised "CHANGE", and now he failed.

    February 3, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  15. Michael B

    It says a lot about the integrity of this man to withdraw his name. Everyone in the Obama camp is in agreement with his immense show of character, as are the democratic leaders.

    It also speaks poorly for the new Treasury Secretary, whose tax indiscretions are even more controversial and pertinent to his cabinet position.

    February 3, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  16. Katie

    obama is not walking the walk, he preached for 2 years to us, now we placed him in the whitehouse he is not walking the walk and is disspointing our great country....if obama was the right man for the job, he would not have made so many mistakes like choosing Tom Daschle... and obama just said he "messed up" with him saying that, that scares me to death.. but thankfully we have hillary clinton to clean up any and all messes that obama makes in the future.

    February 3, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  17. Rick

    At least he understands integrity which should be an indication to Obama who doesnt show integrity rather than listen to his total bull. Obama please stick to your promises rather than exceptions to the rules........

    February 3, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  18. Mr. Grumpy

    When told of Daschle:

    "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."

    I can only hope she was referring to the cabinet post......

    February 3, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  19. Anti-Edwards

    Morgan,would you be saying the same thing if Daschle were the nominee in a McCain Administration?

    February 3, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  20. Texas Teacher

    Daschle should have been approved! After the corruption in the Bush administration with the full support of the Republican congress has no reason to point fingers at anyone!

    Rush Limbaugh is no doubt having a field day with this one! :(

    February 3, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  21. Humored In Texas

    President Obama has just come out and accepted blame for this situation.

    Very presidential; not like the clown he succeeded who couldn't accept blame for anything he could blame on someone else. Pappy taught him well!!!

    February 3, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  22. MAD

    I sure hate this happened. I think we needed Daschle. I am concerned though, with the number of folks in Washington who haven't handled their taxes on the up and up. Folks in Hollywood and music industry sure don't get away with mishandling their taxes and I won't even go there about the little people like me and my friends.

    I think it may be a real challenge to find good people without tax issues in Washington. At least that's how things are starting to shape up.

    Good Luck, Mr. President...

    February 3, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  23. Mir

    These nominations and appointments are NOT judgment you can trust. It is NOT change you can believe in. We have a tax evader as US Treasurer–compliments of the Democratic congress–and now 2 nominees selected by the Obama administration who have had to withdraw because of tax evasion issues. Let's not forget Kennedy either, who just might have had something good to do in Congress withdrawing because of tax issues as well. Anyone see a pattern here?

    February 3, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  24. linda from South Dakota

    tom would have done a great job but as usual,, people, nit-pick things like this to no end,,, he backed out with grace,, leave him alone,,, are you perfect???? ummmm

    February 3, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  25. C. B. Poole

    Looks like the democrats read Leona Helmsley's book - only the little people pay taxes.

    February 3, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
1 2 3 4 5