February 3rd, 2009
02:20 PM ET
14 years ago

Withdrawal decision 'tough, tough, tough' on Daschle

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/03/art.getty.tom.daschle.jpg caption=" A source said the development had been very difficult for Daschle."](CNN) - A Daschle ally familiar with his thinking was not aware Tuesday of any White House pressure on the former Senate Majority Leader to withdraw his nomination.

Was Daschle pushed? “Things don’t work that cleanly,” said the source, who could not say for sure whether any senators may have made appealed to Daschle to end the confirmation process.

The issue was not whether Daschle could “survive” - it was what that process “would do to Obama” and his health care reform and economic agenda. It’s a question of the “price of that confirmation.”

The source confirms that Daschle read the Tuesday New York Times editorial urging him to withdraw from consideration, but would not say whether that might have played a part in his decision. “Tom has been a politician for a very long time,” says the Democratic source. “He understands this town. He made a mistake, he apologized, but timing matters. There was a critical mass building” - questions about meaning of Obama’s ethics standards.

Watch: Ken Rubin from NPR's instant analysis

A messy Daschle confirmation would have put the president on the defensive, and generated unfortunate headlines - and the Times editorial “re-inforced that this might be a difficult, and certainly a distracting, confirmation process for a White House that doesn’t have that kind of time.”

The source said the development had been very difficult for Daschle. “He wanted to do this. He wanted to move health care,” said the source. “He has spent a good deal of his life [on this], wrote a book on the issue. He wanted to help Obama. They’ve been together since the beginning. This is tough, tough, tough on him.”

Filed under: Tom Daschle
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. John G

    Hey Tim in Seattle,

    We don't expect flawless execution. We were promised flawless execution. We were promised that all of our problems would go away if we elected Obama. We were promised "change". We were promised "Yes we can"

    So far Obama hasn't changed a darn thing. He has made a habit of nominating people for office who don't pay their taxes. On the "Yes we can" front, frankly most people I know "can't" any better than they could on November 3rd or on January 19th.

    Obama was elected to be our leader and so far he hasn't lead anything.

    February 3, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
1 2