February 3rd, 2009
07:54 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama: 'I screwed up' on Daschle appointment

President Barack Obama is interviewed by CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday.
President Barack Obama is interviewed by CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday admitted he made a mistake in handling the nomination of Tom Daschle as his Health and Human Services secretary, saying Daschle's tax problems sent a message that the politically powerful are treated differently than average people.

Watch: Pres. Obama one-on-one

Daschle, the former Democratic leader in the U.S. Senate, withdrew earlier Tuesday as news that he failed to pay some taxes in the past continued to stir opposition on Capitol Hill.

"I think I screwed up," Obama said in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper. "And, I take responsibility for it and we're going to make sure we fix it so it doesn't happen again."

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Filed under: President Obama • Tom Daschle
soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. hez

    For once we have a leader humble enough to say he screwed up when he did. We didnt see that in the past 8 years,.

    February 3, 2009 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  2. Perusing-Through

    DEFINE ACCOUNTABILITY: = = President Obama taking responsibility for two failed nominations.

    Give Obama credit for "Man'ning Up". However, during Bush 8-years he never took responsibility or ownership for any of the following he caused or allowed:

    1.) Two unending wars, Iraq & Afghanistan
    2.) 4,200+ dead U.S. Servicemen, 37,000+ wounded, 100,000+ mental issues
    3.) 95,000++ Iraqi civilian collateral deaths; 4,000,000++ Iraqis displaced
    4.) Unresolved Iranian nuclear weapons
    5.) Escalated tension between nuclear Pakistan & India
    6.) No peace arbitration between Palestinians and Israelis
    7.) Cuba/U.S. relations still frozen
    8.) Russian nuclear ships parked off Chavez's Venezuelan coast
    9.) Expanding genocide in Africa
    10.) Escalation of drug wars, kidnappings, and killings from Mexico
    11.) Broken immigration policy remains with 20-million Illegals
    12.) Ice caps melting and still no climate change policy
    13.) National economic meltdown
    14.) Financial market credit disaster
    15.) American auto-manufacturing debacle
    16.) Skyrocketing unemployment
    17.) Disastrous Cheney energy policies
    18.) Disastrous home foreclosures nationwide
    19.) No affordable insurance coverage
    20.) Investments, pensions and retirement losses
    21.) Deepening national debt
    22.) Unaffordable education
    23.) Lost international credibility
    24.) Inefficient fed agencies like FEMA, FDA, EPA, and CDC
    25.) Hemorrhaging of jobs to overseas slave labor.

    February 3, 2009 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  3. bluebird

    Yeah, he "admits he screwed up." So Presidential. Let's see how long he keeps that up.

    I'll see if his technique works with my boss when I make mistakes.. I'll be just like Obama and say Boss, I admit I screwed up and take full responsbility. My boss will say, you've said that too many times...your fired.

    February 3, 2009 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  4. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    It's certainly a disappointment in having key people have the same type of problem, so much so that they have to withdraw.
    But I take exception the feeling that the tax cheats will keep us from fully arming our troops at war.
    I think it was Rummy and Cheney who helped position the Decider to go into an unnecessary and costly war. A war so costly that Rummy and team wouldn't send the right equipment over to Iraq.

    Like I teach my kids – take responsibility for what happened, apologize, offer up (if required) the changes you'll make so it doesn't become a repeat issue and then move on.

    February 3, 2009 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  5. John

    Its far to early to say Obama is a bad President. Funny he made a error
    in vexing Dashle and he admits its on him. Funny Bush never admitted he made a mistake. Blind certainty or Blind Faith or Just plain Stupidity???? I take Obama any day!!!! Oh and watch it Repo's!!!
    I seem to recall Bush appointees who didn't pay payroll taxes for maids (Bernard Kirik) Pay Your Taxes everyone!!!!

    February 4, 2009 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  6. John

    Yes you did because now Daschle has to pay his taxes!!! That will tick him off.

    February 4, 2009 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  7. Cee

    Sure did "screw up" prez ! Like ALL politicians, they think their s- doesn't stink. We, the AMERICAN TAX PAYING PUBLIC are well aware that WE have elected some pretty rotten characters and ARE PAYING big time for this. Boy are we ever, and so will generations to come. SHAME ON US.

    February 4, 2009 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  8. No Incumbents 2010

    To all tax evaders in the Democratic party and President Obama's cabinet a quote from Democrat VPJoe Biden: “It’s time to be patriotic,”
    And Former Democrat Senator Tom Daschle:
    “Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter. ”

    February 4, 2009 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  9. Ryan Erik de Nuevo Mexico

    Julie, your just another lame Obama-bot who licks the dirt from under his feet...DEBBIE KEEP ON SPEAKING THE TRUTH!!!!

    February 4, 2009 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  10. ROC

    That's okay...I screwed up on the Bush appointment once.

    February 4, 2009 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  11. Claire

    Obama is an inexperienced and weak leader who is clearly out of his depth.
    How immature and un-presidential to use the phrase " I screwed up ".
    This is only the start , more politicians will be exposed as cheats and liars who are abusing their positions.
    High time to remind them that they have been elected to serve the public and not themselves.

    February 4, 2009 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  12. Jaison From NYC

    Politics is dirtiest business ever we can find. i am sure each and every politicians has something to hide. and none of them are clean. including President Obama too. i don't think President Obama is Saint. i think he should be in Hollywood. he knows what's viewers expect from him. and that's how he is presenting him self to all of us. give him some more time and we all gonna find out more and more about him.

    February 4, 2009 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  13. montana miner

    I consider John mCcain a coward and a traitor to his country.He said he knew how to catch Bin Laden,and is now withholding that info from the new President.

    February 4, 2009 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  14. Nathaniel

    The president did the right thing owning up to this 'mistake'. For those who have issue with him, i have this to say: when you point a finger, the others point back at you. Criticize constructively or just keep quiet!

    February 4, 2009 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  15. Jeff

    Tom Daschle is very partisan and was obviously a disappointment to his constituents as a senator. I'm surprised that Obama's transition team didn't see him as a disappointing politician as well. I look forward to Obama's presidency, but this choice was a huge disappointment. I'm glad he's out.

    February 4, 2009 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  16. huge sigh of relief

    Sir, you are leaps and bounds above your predecessor – thank you for the humility you displayed in admitting you made a mistake. You have done in two weeks what Bush wasn't able to do in eight years, which is earn my respect.

    February 4, 2009 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  17. Don

    Most of you Obama voters were likely too young to know how horrible the Carter years were. Sadly, I think you're about to find out.

    February 4, 2009 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  18. Jaison From NYC

    If anyone wants to run for any office in USA at any level, they should check their back ground in every election. if they find any red flag then that person should get kicked out......so from their we will know they are clean.

    February 4, 2009 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  19. Pat in IL

    Obama stands behind the "the buck stops here" principal, and his accountability is refreshing. Daschel is probably still the best pick for the HHS, talent-wise, but Washington is in such dire need of change from the old entitlements, etc. that every single one of them needs to be clean as a whistle, and examples of accountability have to be made. Hopefully, we'll get some of the "good old boys club" mentality out of there and get some genuine public servants in.

    February 4, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  20. Carolyn White

    Obama, you screwed up with Bill Richardson, Tim Geithner, and a whole slew of other things, but the Biggest Screw up has not been exposed yet, but is sure to come and that is You Violated the US Constitutional by running and being Sworn in as US President when you know Dam well you are an Illegal ailen, along with your illegal Aunt, Obama should be jetted off to Prison along with his wife Michelle who knew he was born in Kenya, these folks will do anything to get rich, Please Lawyer Berg, don't let this Corrupted Homosexual get away with this Crime he has commited to our US Constitution, and please make sure his Transvestite wife go to jail with him, and make sure she is placed in a male prison, as she was born a male and in a woman shadow. what a joke they have played on this great Country. Americans, please wake up and smell the coffee, Let's IMPEACH THIS CROOK.

    February 4, 2009 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  21. Sebastian

    I challenge an organization such as CNN to conduct research on the background of every person in high public office, especially those that would confirm a cabinet nominee.

    Lets see just how clean everyone really is before they start casting the stone at others.

    February 4, 2009 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  22. dittoheads and Handbaskets

    The hate on here must be reaching the heavens,lookout people!

    February 4, 2009 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  23. barry

    The liberals will always forgive Obama no matter what and blame Republicans no matter what. Just as what the liberals did to Bush so will the conservatives do to Obama.

    February 4, 2009 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  24. Dan

    Do you think you are elected as Mr President to screw up? How can you use such words. You are a disgrace to this greatest nation. You have to be smart enough to govern this nation. Just taking responsibility, it is not good enough. Yesterday you said Daschle should be confirmed 'ABOLUTELY' and today you realized that you have screwed up. Liberals will find you amazing in your acts. Grow up. I am not sure CNN will publish this one because they are also on the liberal side.

    February 4, 2009 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  25. A. Darton

    First let me say this, why don't these people pay their taxes? Just what is going on here? Now that that is said, let me say this, I still have confidence in President Obama. I knew this would not be easy what he is facing, but I still believe in him. Bush and the Republicans didn't get us into this mess over night, and we won't get out of it over night. It would have been nice if these same Republicans would have stood up to Bush when he was putting this country in this BIG whole. Now all of a sudden everything cost to much, how much has that Iraq war cost us, not only in money, but lives. what about the tax cut to the rich?Whatever Bush wanted they gave him, now this economy is in terrible shape thanks to them. If somebody put me in a hole, I am not going to blame the guy who comes by and try to get me out of that hole, I am blaming the guy who dugged the hole and put me in the whole. Well this mess is Bush mess, and his sidekicks the Republicans.

    February 4, 2009 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
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