February 3rd, 2009
07:54 PM ET
6 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. Oh Please

    Why do they refer to Daschle's "tax problems?" Was he being investigated or audited by the IRS? Were they going to take his property or garnish his lobbying paycheck? What problems? The man amended his returns in time, I guess, so everything's legal. But would he have amended his return if he hadn't been nominated?

    February 3, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  2. Proud American

    Steele announces transition team:

    What is there to transition? Idiots from one side of a room to another?

    February 3, 2009 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  3. SueB

    I continue to be amazed that so many people who post on these forums live with such hatred every day of their lives. This hatred totally consumes their beings and blinds them to facts or any reality. Obama was 100% behind Daschle, until it became politically expedient to not be. Typical politics. Obama acknowledged he screwed up, refreshing and definitely not typical politics.

    February 3, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  4. Ed

    Chalk that up to a lack of experience? What ya gonna "screw up" next?

    You all should have voted for McCain.

    February 3, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  5. Marty

    What have we learned here? Maybe Obama can pickup a side job working for the IRS by picking people to audit. Maybe the IRS should spend a little more time auditing people in high places. Infact, we can use this to help cover the cost of the stim package.

    February 3, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  6. Hammer

    Obama promised CHANGE!
    HE said he was different!
    He is not any different than all the corrupt politicians he said that he was going to save us from. He says he made a mistake and would do better the next time. He has used the same song and dance routine every time he is caught in lie.
    It is about time that we were honest and admitted that he is just like all the others, a politician with an agenda, that will tell you what you want to hear and play the same old games!

    February 3, 2009 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  7. Monica

    You know, people really need to get real and get serious. We as a nation are far to grumpy and quick to place blame to entertain ourselves. This is ridiculopus. I support our President and the ones that he felt would best serve in his cabinet. If you could find me 5 folks in office that son't have something that they would like to hide during a vetting process, I would be amazed. In fact, the only reason why this stuff came out like it did is because they are trying to be so transparent.

    February 3, 2009 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  8. Tom

    Amazing to see so many cheering for Obama admitting to his mistake...when all else fails! He stood firmly behind this nominee, as he did all the other bad choices. Face the facts – President Obama made his way through two years in the senate voting "present" – he doesn't make decisions, he makes speeches.
    If admitting mistakes is so impressive to all of you, how about admitting you made a mistake when you elected him?

    February 3, 2009 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  9. CHANGE.COM

    Obama could have made excuses that he did not personally vet Daschle and the rest of the cabinet members. He didn't. Instead, for the first time since JFK, we see a president admit to the American people that he screwed up! That's a breath of fresh air indeed. The Republican detractors can go to hell.

    February 3, 2009 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  10. Dumas McGee

    did he screw up with Geitner?

    February 3, 2009 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  11. erin

    why is he saying sorry when 3 hours ago he was sad and regretful that tom quit????? prob because 3 people with tax CROOK SHADINESS IN A CABINET IS UNCALLED FOR???? THIS IS VERY DISTURBING.

    February 3, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  12. Gary, Georgia

    JESUS H. CHRIST! You people are acting like President Obama is the freaking salvation of all mankind! Get a freaking grip! Yeah, I know, Bush screwed up the eight years he was in office, but, Obama has plenty of time to screw up even worse than Bush. Just give him time to really mess up and then I want to see where all the Obama lovers are at!

    February 3, 2009 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  13. Jim

    I give him props for taking the heat but this just goes to show we elected a rookie!

    February 3, 2009 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  14. peter from Orlando florida

    a president who admit the mistake that is awesome

    February 3, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  15. New Yorker

    Obama has been testing the waters to see what he can get away with. How many days in office before making numerous mistakes?

    February 3, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  16. Keep chanting, Limbaugh-Zombies, "OBAMA MUST FAIL, OBAMA MUST FAIL"

    where are the dimwits?...these deuce bags republiklans will stop at nothing to make the president look bad.

    GW never admitted to mistakes in the last 8yrs and he screwed america over...so butt off haters, and cut the president some slack!!!!

    February 3, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  17. Joe

    Look, if I failed to pay $140,000.00 in taxes the IRS would have put a lien against everything I own. They did that to my sister 20 years ago and locked up everything she had until she sat down with them and came to a settlement. Do the "politically affluent" get special treatment...you bet!!!

    Here's my take. Daschle wouldn't have paid it if he didn't get the lights on him for the nomination. He like the other Obama nominees who have had their tax problems laid out are smart people with smart CPAs to help them out. How did they make a mistake. One of two reasons: Daschle thought they could beat the system; or the system, aka the tax code, is too confusing for even the experts!

    I think Daschle tried to play the system and I think the tax codes are too confusing for even the tax "experts." Daschle got what he should have for trying to beat the system and the tax codes have got t go!!

    February 3, 2009 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  18. Whatever

    Mr. Obama, you did the right thing, even though it was not your fault. This "transparency" thing is really running it's course. This is the first time I believe that we, the people, had so much to say about everything since everything is so transparent.

    Before, everything was hid, we knew nothing, unless we read one national enquirer or one of the other gossip magazines. So now that things are transparent, things are going to be revealed even more.

    2 weeks in this presidency and seems like the old usa is being ripped at the seams again. We are still so divided and it scares me!

    February 3, 2009 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  19. Sakimasg

    The state of the United States of America requires that we dry are tears, repel our shame and move on. The people have experienced Law maker and enforcement that had been in the majority that did not severed the people. Elected official are elected to do the peoples biding and can not take the attempts by other elected officials to make America a closet Monarchy to heart.
    Lean but not to the bone! It is not personal so dry your eyes. It is about who we are and who they are. It is about we the people in order to form a more perfect union. It is not about separation by any means or by any majority. You are very serious about we the people but remember that we the people are individuals with different thoughts and frames of mind and remember that we the people have minds too. Righting a wrong is a good thing but inventing a wrong is just as bad as causing one

    February 3, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  20. Mertis from Georgetown,S.C

    President Obama, thanks for being honest, continue to stay on your theme , you learn from mistakes.Actually you did not screw up but the nominees you appointed screwed with you. They knew that they owned money, they should have never accepted the nominee. It hurts when people like Lou Dobbs think he know it all,if he did he would have been president. Continue to know that God is in control and hold all the solutions and answers for you.

    February 3, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  21. Eugene

    Humility is good for the soul. Such a relief that the plug was pulled on Daschle, and the withdrawal by Killefer helped seal the necessity of it to happen.

    February 3, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  22. Annette

    All of the politician are only out for themselves, no matter if the American people are able to live, there should be no one in this country who should be hungry or without a job, but theses so called people who is suppose to look out for us only look out for them selves. The American people should decide when they should get a raise or what type of benefits they should receive. They work for us!!!!! When will stand up and say this is enough. Our government has no back bone if they were not getting paid and all of the other perks they would not even want to be in the government. While we struggle to make a living they are enjoying life. And we are paying them for lying to us and they are stealing they should have to go to jail if it was you or me they would waste the money and send us. We have got to stand up and take our country back.

    February 3, 2009 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  23. vera in VA

    Our new politics = the young being led by the stupid! Oh and don't let us forget the media acting as the cheering section while the great sucking sound of our jobs going plays in the background. The Press is responsible for his election and they need to demand that Giethner step down . if all the people around Obama and in Washington paid thier taxes like the rest of us have to We the People would probably have a govt surplus right now and no worries how about the IRS starts doing it's job and auditing everyone making a million or more I bet we wouldn't need a stimulus bill huh?

    February 3, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  24. T in the Big D

    Wow! What if Bush were this honest when things did not go as planned? Maybe we would not be in the mess we're in right now. On the other hand, look for the vetting process to get much tougher!

    February 3, 2009 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  25. Marge

    Why is obama letting the press dictate to him. He didn't screw up on the Daschle appointment. He picked a good guy for the job. The people who should have investigated Daschle's background are the ones who made the mistake.

    What obama should do is say he would like so and so for the job and tell his committee to do their job and investigate. If he lets the republicans and the press twist him every which way in the wind he is going to look weak and silly. STAND UP AND ACT LIKE THE PRESIDENT HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE NOT A WIMP.

    February 3, 2009 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
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