January 6th, 2009
01:31 PM ET
14 years ago

Time heals old political wounds


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/06/art.getty.thune.daschle.jpg caption="Tom Daschle and John Thune were once political adversaries, but time seems to have paved over the bitterness as the two were spotted shaking hands and patting each other on the back."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle returned “home” Tuesday to the Senate floor and stood alongside a bitter adversary to watch his longtime friend and South Dakota colleague Tim Johnson be sworn-in for a third term.

Sen. Johnson, who suffered a devastating stroke, was flanked by Daschle and Republican Sen. John Thune, who defeated the Democratic leader by a razor thin 51% to 49 % margin in what can be accurately described as a bitter contest. Daschle was first elected to Congress as a House member in 1978 and successfully ran for the Senate in 1986.

But time seems to have paved over the bitterness. As Thune and Daschle departed the Senate floor, the two former adversaries shook hands and patted each other on the back.

Daschle returns to Capitol Hill on Thursday for the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination to be the next secretary of Health and Human Services.

Filed under: John Thune • Tom Daschle
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. LIP

    All is fair in love and war and polittics. These guys are big boys and know that what is said during an election is simply "talk" designed to garner votes. Mr Daschle made the mistake of taking his constituents for granted and started sounding way to liberal and was voted out. Tim Johnson learned a lesson from this and has been less vocal and more thoughtful about his decisions.

    January 6, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. Stacey, California

    who cares

    January 6, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. Jeff Brown

    Thune is STILL a scumbag!

    January 6, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. RealityKing

    Daschle, the only Democratic leader defeated by his own voters in 75yrs, and another not so great Obama change...

    January 6, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |


    January 6, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. GuyInVA

    Proud American,

    Two comments. Thune is an idiot and looks stupid. Is that really the best you have? Is that the best you can do? Attack his policies or beliefs... fine. But name calling? That's just petty and small. If I were a politician, I would say I'm disappointed in your comments, but that would imply I (or anyone else) expected better.

    January 6, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. the idiot

    Just reading the comments, it just amazes me that the libs cannot get over that W won 8 years ago and he beat them again 4 years ago. Also amazed the Proud American found another adjective to describe a republican, didn;t know he had it in him.

    January 6, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. Troy B.

    Johnson did not suffer a stroke, he has a condition called cerebral arteriovenous malformation. The condition causes bleeding in areas affected, one of the most devestating being the brain. It is not a stroke. It has similar effects, but it is not a stroke.

    I am glad that Thune and Daschle are amicable in public now. The battle for the seat from South Dakota was very tough, and these two really did a number on each other.

    As a South Dakota, I am glad to see that Tim Johnson can continue to serve my state.

    January 6, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. Humored in Texas

    Thune staunchly defends Bush at every turn – that's all you need to know about this big thinker!!!

    January 6, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Objective thinking

    And "Proud American" fulfills the prophesy of the first comment in this article.

    January 6, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. Matt, Chico, CA

    I have always admired Thune. Thune-Crist '12

    January 6, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. CA Indie for Obama

    Maybe they are trying to set a good example of reaching across the aisle for the incoming congress. unless civility returns, this congress could do worse than nothing while the economy tanks, the Middle East conflict rages on again and partisanship rearing its ugly head in IL and MN. This congress has a heavy burden to get things done and get this great country of ours back on its feet, domestically and globally.

    January 6, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  13. Tony


    January 6, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. Khalid

    I remember Daschle's farewell speech after he lost. It was painful to watch but he was gracious in defeat with his family supporting him. I don't recall Sen. Thune being quite as gracious but the fact that both men can (hopefully) come together and start solving problems bodes well for the future. I hope. And best wishes to Sen Johnson.

    January 6, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. Proud American

    GuyInVA = I'm left with name calling because the Idiot dosen't have any policies and his beliefs are stupid ( He's a republican). What are you a Idiot?

    January 6, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Cindy

    Thune is a loser and not fit to wear the shoes Daschle wears..

    January 6, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. OH MY!!

    Tom Daschle and John Thune were once political adversaries, but time seems to have paved over the bitterness as the two were spotted shaking hands and patting each other on the back.
    ***These Guys need to pass it on to the American BLOGERS ...You Guys are SOOOO Full of Hate ***

    January 6, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. Griff

    Right Marker for a "Down Town", Governor Parade... I love to listen to the Power Game.... I sit on the outside and watch overweights bid for Power... Barack Obama 2o12.... At least a few Kilo's overweight.....

    January 6, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    What's all these comments about Thune and Daschle not getting along?
    Didn't Obama say he was the guy to reach across the aisle? To bring the country together? Or was all that just campaign blather?
    What will Obama do to bring these two together, as well as the rest of Washington?
    Now if you say Thune and Daschle need to work it out by themselves, then I say Obama was just making a campaign pitch or he has a huge ego.
    I hate it when someone wins an election and then their supporters immediately forget or downplay what the winning candidate said to get elected.

    January 6, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Jackie in Dallas

    I think it is a good sign that these two can put aside their differences to come out and support their colleague be sworn in. They don't have to be buddies, but cordial is nice!

    While I would agree that what Johnson suffers from is similar to a stroke, it isn't one. It does have many of the same affects, however, which leads me to wonder if he will have the stamina to fill his position for South Dakota. I wish Senator Johnson well, and hope that his recovery is not jeapardized by the stress of his job.

    January 6, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  21. No Hillary = No Obama

    Politics is one big whose in bed with who. Americans should be disgusted by the recycling of the privileged who always seem to find a place at the table.

    January 6, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. living in SD

    Yes, Tim Johnson is fully able to serve his state, and most people in SD voted him back in. Dascle also served SD, his problem was he was majority leader at the time of his election and our voters couldn't see him working for both the state and as the head of the Senate.

    As for Thune- no one has noted he is the 5th highest ranking Republican. God help us.

    January 6, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
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