February 3rd, 2009
02:20 PM ET
13 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. Survivor

    I'm a Democrat (leaning mostly because they are a Positive Party) I pay my taxes – I worked for over 40 years – retired – am not rich – am not elitist – love positive thinking people from all over the world – love a clean and heatlhy environment – want to see "brains" over "brawn" in the White House and am getting sick to death of the comments and attitude of the GOP and their minions.....happily the Democratic Party won the White House and most of the House and Senate – get over yourselves and do something that helps someone else besides yourselves and your Agenda!

    February 3, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. Sue

    I am a democrat, I voted for Obama, and I still stand firmly behind him, but I do agree that Daschle should have stepped down......We pay our taxes every year faithly, and these big wigs can get by with out paying their taxes........I don't think so......if if was your or I that hadn't paid our taxes you can bet we would have been hounded by the IRS charged all kinds of penalty's and interest. Ok, now lets pick soneone else and and move on...........

    February 3, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  3. KLS

    I agree, it's all about timing. Tom Daschle would have done a fantastic job but the pressure from outside groups (Rush) and the GOP about Obama's ethics standards would have hurt his health care reform and economic agenda.

    February 3, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. CT native

    ? ? TOUGH ?? ????? I too find it tough when I owe IRS taxes and my property taxes – HOWEVER – I PAY THEM and ON TIME TOO !

    What's good enough for me and most HONEST AMERICAN TAX PAYERS should be GOOD for OUR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES and THOSE that WANT TO BE OUR EMPLOYEES ! enough said ! TOO BAD for DASHEL!

    February 3, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. Matthew Truth

    The Republicans did not stop Daschle he did. Accept responsibility.

    Rober Gibbs press secretary for Obama just said on national TV that the president has confidence in the vetting system. When asked by a reporter if the vetting system would change at least along the lines of taxes, Gibbs again said "the president is very confident in the system" Hahahahaha. How can you be confident. Richardson may be indicted, Geithner, Daschle, Keffler don't pay their taxes. The President is confident? Confident of what?

    February 3, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  6. JB

    Good decision. It' clear he has expertise in the field and has good qualifications, but just too much baggage. Sometimes its just not worth it. I hope there's another equally qualified candidate. This doesn't mean the end to health care for all – I believe that's what the repubs were pushing for.

    February 3, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  7. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    The People have prevailed upon The One to abandon his support for poorly vetted Cabinet candidateswhose personal judgment and integrity _alone_ disqualify them, and no amount of backslapping career pols can reverse that prudent result.

    February 3, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |


    when Politicians feed from the public trough abd get caught

    then pay the price...Lets have real and clean change in WASHINGTON.

    February 3, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. Dan

    Survivor, you should have a life. You are liberal socialist and I am sure Barack Obama voter. You should know that your party is full of cheats and you should learn from them how to cheat.

    February 3, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. sg

    Democrat = Morally or ethically corrupt or both. See ya Daschle!

    February 3, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. Obama Victim

    see ya loser

    February 3, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. MK

    I just don't understand how these political people get away with not paying TAXES. If it were you or me I'm sure the IRS would come after me.

    February 3, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. Bill

    Please the next person choosen by the President please have your taxes paid. This country is in trouble and we need to move forward.

    February 3, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  14. Peter

    We should demonstrate for Karl rove to let loose our goverment.....it is hard to see it through but Karl rove is behind all this just like he was during the campaign. Did you see the Interview with matt lauer......

    I think our media has been corrupted too!!

    February 3, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |

    How to become a member of BO's cabinet:
    1. Work in Clinton's cabinet
    2. Don't pay your taxes.
    3. Pay up only when caught.
    4. Say ......oops, it was just an oversight or I didn't understand tax laws.

    I wonder how many more of BO's choices we can get rid of by investigating whether or not they paid their taxes?

    Good riddance!!!!

    February 3, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. Jude

    That is great survivor, that you are the exact opposite of Daschle and others of his ilk (Geithner, Killefer) but you are wrong on one count: this isn't about them vs. us (the Dems vs. the Republicans). It is unfortunate that you see it that way. This is about ethics in Washington. Obama said it would be a new day there and ethics would rule. Even nominating Daschle violates the spirit of that comment, but I believe he delivered the "withdraw on your own or I will have to rescind the nomination" speech to Daschle in the end.

    February 3, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. Bill

    This is quite sad, one had such High hopes for Daschle. What a letdown. Some serious vetting is required here...Note to Obama.

    February 3, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  18. Lou in Illinois

    Amazing! Top Democrats are "shocked" that Daschel would withdraw his nomination. This just goes to show how out-of-touch they are. Joe Biden said during the campaign that it was the "patriotic duty" of wealthy Americans to pay high taxes. I thought this applied to ALL wealthy Americans, being fair as we are. Apparently this doesn't apply to the Obama administration itself however. It is truly incredible that they don't recognize their own hypocrisy. How on earth do they expect regular folks to pay their taxes honestly and on-time when the Secretary of the Treasury himself is a tax dodger? If we had tax "problems" like these nominees they'd call it FRAUD and throw us in jail - not give us cabinet appointments!!!

    February 3, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. Louis

    I have no respect for leaders of either party–our government needs a do-over.

    February 3, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  20. Tim, Seattle

    It was right that Dsachle stepped down. As a democrat it is sad for me as he was the perfect pick. But when taxpayers are footing the bill, little things like this get magnified. Sign of the times.

    And Republicans, still licking their wounds from a party meltdown at the polls last November will look for any thorn on the rose to obstruct and get some kind of payback. They are looking for a path back to power and their strategy is still partisan. Shame on them, they are the next Dinosaurs.

    Accept it, the GOP cant field any candidate without being a pervert or adulterous schmuck so they will attack instead. Tearing down instead of building America. America doesnt like tax cheats, but we dont like obstructionists and partisans either. A DAy of reckoning is coming and its 2010.

    Obama has to just take this along with the other tax-plagued nominees and move on. Hes going to lose the spin war to the GOP on this one. But tomorrow is another day and sooner or later the news story will run out of legs. Press wants drama and controversy and they are certainly running with it along with the GOP who is trying everything to weaken the president. They are liars if they claim otherwise.

    Obama is trying to walk the tightrope on everything. Unlike all presidents before him, he is not getting any honeymoon from the press to be sure. In fact they appear to be turning on the administartion and expecting flawless execution after 2 weeks in office.

    February 3, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  21. Mary

    We listened as the big auto executives got ripped about not jet pooling or driving to Washington from Detroit, then we heard President Obama remark that it was just Shameful for the wall street executives to get bonuses because it was the taxpayers money . . . . . so if ya don't pay your taxes what are we gonna call that . . . . is that the CHANGE. Its ok to not pay taxes and when were all these taxes owed like for what year? It just kinda worries me that the Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner didn't know that if he made money he had to pay taxes on it. So Shame on Who!

    February 3, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  22. Matt B

    Now I'm starting to realize why the Democrats continue to push for an increase in taxes...because they don't pay them themselves. Rengel, Killefer, Daschle and Geithner etc., just shocking!!

    February 3, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. DavidinCA

    “Tom has been a politician for a very long time,” says the Democratic source. “He understands this town.

    ...but this was the ticket for "Change". Okay, different side of the room, but same town. More good old Washington politicians!

    February 3, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. marcie Wong

    The vetting process obviously is not working. Mr President, I supported you and absolutely will continue. But it is time to do as you speak–your candidates must be beyond reproach on the issue of tax payments, and it looks like you may have to dig a little deeper to find people that have done what is expected of every other American.

    Good God, is it really that hard to find good people...I need a job...

    February 3, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  25. Bob

    More Liberal blah-blah-blah from Tim in Seattle. The only city in the U.S. with a public statue of Lenin!

    February 3, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
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