WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Sen. Tom Daschle's decision to withdraw his nomination to head the Department of Health and Human Services has observers buzzing about what the loss means to President Obama's health care agenda.
Daschle had been fighting to save his nomination after facing controversy regarding his tax records - filing amended tax returns and paying more than $140,000 in back taxes and interest - and questions over his work in a field that some consider lobbying.
Obama stood by Daschle's side despite the criticism until Tuesday when the former Senate majority leader formally withdrew his bid for HHS secretary. The president said he accepted Daschle's decision with "sadness and regret."
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the health care crunch is more important than any one politician.
"I don't think the effort for health care slows down, and I think Daschle and others would agree the effort for health care is greater than any individual," Gibbs said at a press briefing Tuesday.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said finding a new nominee quickly was imperative.
"You have 50 million people with no insurance, and we need to step forward on health care for the American people," Reid said.
So how does the prospect of a sweeping health care overhaul look now that Daschle won't spearhead it?