February 3rd, 2009
07:54 PM ET
9 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. WOW

    I forgive you. The real mistake was appointing Hillary for SOS. Oh the SHAME!

    February 3, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  2. bill johns

    if, Daschle can seerve in the cabinet, then he shouldn't be allowed to serve in Congress. maybe, your ethics are lower for Congess.

    February 3, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  3. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    So, HOW did he screw up? What happened, what took place?

    CNN won't tell you because Anderson didn't ask the President.

    Keep in mind.....the media needs the news. They will create news or see that it happens (like at news conferences) so they can stay in business.

    This newsmaking means more to journalists than the health of the nation.

    Obama is human. Give him the benefit of the doubt. Lies by omission (such as with Daschle) are something none of us can deal with.

    February 3, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  4. Chris in Va.

    @ billy-bayou.....Hate to burst your hate bubble there red, but the nation is already screwed up thanks to Mr.s Bush and Cheney, Obama had nothing to do with that, you did!

    February 3, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  5. Bob

    Now there's something you don't see often: A President who's willing to admit he's made a mistake. Even when he messes up, Obama hits a home run. If the Bush Administration would have operated with this type of candor and introspection the Country might not be in the sorry shape it is now.

    February 3, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  6. 30m-Democrat-voted Clinton then McCain

    This is exactly why I voted for Clinton and McCain. I wanted someone with experience, not someone who will get on-the-job training.

    February 3, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  7. Dr. G

    President Obama-
    No you did NOT screw up. Mr. Daschle had to bow out to avoid unnecessary media coverage. I have never seen a newly elected President do so much for the people in such a short time and allow for such an open process to review candidates. It's refreshing, and I am mature enough to know that people are not perfect-this includes the BACK SEAT DRIVERS who spew hate from behind their laptops. Keep up the good work! I and many others have your back!

    February 3, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  8. God Help us

    DEBBY____ who are you Kidding, you were always a republican. Saying you are a democrat that voted republican this year after what all went down WHATEVER!!!!!!!!!

    February 3, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  9. Chip Mitchell

    Pres. Obama did a good thing in admitting he goofed in not getting Tom Daschle adequately vetted, but his contention that he didn't want the public to perceive that there are two standards regarding complying with tax laws is suspect when you consider the new Sec. of Treasury's record. Obviously, expedience and ego trump integrity if you perceive you have enough political capital to survive a "goof". Maybe if Alberto Gonzalez had done an "aw shucks, I goofed" today, then Campbell Brown might have been satisfied with just a few scratches across his face instead of the pound of flesh she seemed so determined to exact. Certainly didn't see her going after the new Treasury Sec. with that kind of venom. So much for "No Bias, No Bull"

    February 3, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  10. Pat CA

    Gracie February 3rd, 2009 8:16 pm ET
    THANK YOU Mr. President for being honest and admitting you made mistakes.

    Say "Good night," Gracie!

    February 3, 2009 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  11. KLS

    How refreshing to have our president admit a mistake! Looks like the "buck" will stop at Obama's desk. Bush still can't admit to his mistakes especially about invading Iraq where we have lost almost 4300 amazing men and women in uniform based on false data.

    February 3, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  12. Ray Fisher, Albuquerque, NM

    Why doesn't Obama let Rahm vet his cabinet nominees and take out the trash like a good chief of staff??? Lordy, just interviewing with Rahm would make me confess crimes I hadn't comitted!!!

    February 3, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  13. JB

    Compared to the bush admin, folks like Daschle are choir boys. Obama did right and admitted mistakes, something bush could never acknowledge. Intelligence and humility in a President – very respectable, and a very welcome change.

    February 3, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  14. Chris

    Brace yourself for the flood of supportive posts about Obama's admission. This blog is so overwhelmingly liberal (myopically liberal) and so predictable that it's actually getting pretty boring to read.

    Question: does anyone know of a good newsservice whose blogs are actually unbiased? I'm honestly seeking one. CNN's blogs all kind of fall under the banner: Liberal Automaton Blog

    February 3, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  15. tgsaad

    It is really refreshing to have a government official to admit a mistake. This is a nice change. May be some other politicians will learn that it's okay to do so. It is a sign of strength not weakness.

    February 3, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  16. 30m-Democrat-voted Clinton then McCain


    The only reason he admitted to screwing up on the Daschle appointment was because of the withdrawl. If Daschle didn't withdraw his nomination Obama would have stuck behind Daschle 100% and the man would have been confirmed. Notice Obama said he screwed up not in the appointment process but in the delay to having a HHS secretary. He still believes Daschle was the right guy.

    February 3, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  17. Raphael

    WOW! A President that admits fault? Thats a first! Nice job B.O. you got mad cool points for that act of humility. Now learn from it and don't let it happen again!

    February 3, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  18. Former Republican







    February 3, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  19. Bob

    You Liberals are truly in a hypnotic trance about Obama. You've lost all objectivity about EVERYTHING. THIS is truly scary!

    February 3, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  20. Democrat from PA

    Let's see, he's been President, for what 10 days?? And he choose 4 people who didn't pay their taxes?? Nice. Tell that to all the military folks out there when we don't have enough money to buy them the proctective armor they need.

    February 3, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  21. LettuceB1

    FINALLY, a President that will admit when they are wrong! I was very troubled by the appointment of Daschle. Not so much because of the taxes (although that did concern me) but because of his close ties with medical companys.

    Thank You President Obama!

    February 3, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  22. renaldo

    Independent thinker is why I believe in mandatory abortion.

    February 3, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  23. Dick

    Obama endorsed and standed behind tax cheaters. What is next?

    February 3, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  24. Julie

    Debby February 3rd, 2009 8:30 pm ET

    We cannot afford to have a President so inexperienced. He doesn't have enough work experience not alone government experience. We are in a crisis and Mr. Obama does not have the capacity to lead at this time. It scares me to hear him say he screwed up. Not a thing a leader should say.
    I hope this post is your attempt at sarcasm – because if it's not, it's downright scary! Never admitting mistakes means never learning from them.

    Peel yourself off the ceiling Debby – time for a reality check. McCain still probably thinks the fundmentals of the economy are strong! I can't imagine where we'd be if McCain were president. You want to talk weak – McCain was the walking talking definition of it – he didn't have the conviction to stick with his principles from one campaign stop to the next.

    February 3, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  25. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Finally, A President that is capable of being honest and expressing to us that he screwed up and he does not wait eight years before telling us or it does not take him eight years before he realizes that he screwed up!! Now that's change we can believe in...!

    February 3, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
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