Daschle Withdraws HHS Nomination

Discussion in 'Politics' started by toomuchtime_, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. toomuchtime_

    toomuchtime_ Gold Member

    Dec 29, 2008
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    UPDATED President Obama's choice to run the Department of Health And Human Services, former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, has withdrawn from consideration for the job because of his initial failure to pay $128,000 in personal taxes.

    Daschle would have overseen Mr. Obama's efforts to reform the health care system.

    The news comes on the same day that Mr. Obama's choice for chief performance officer withdrew from consideration for the job, also citing tax problems.

    "Tom made a mistake, which he has openly acknowledged. He has not excused it, nor do I," President Obama said in a written statement. "I accept his decision with sadness and regret."

    In a statement, Daschle explained his decision, saying that "30 years of exposure to the challenges inherent in our system has taught me...that this work will require a leader who can operate with the full faith of Congress and the American people, and without distraction."

    "Right now, I am not that leader," he wrote, vowing not to be a distraction to the president's agenda.

    Just yesterday, Mr. Obama said he "absolutely" backed Daschle; White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended Daschle's tax errors to reporters, saying "nobody's perfect."

    Now, the president said, "we must move forward."

    Daschle last month paid off about $140,000 in back taxes and in interest tied to his use of a car and driver and consulting work.

    His withdrawal announcement comes just hours after Nancy Killefer, Mr. Obama's choice to become chief performance officer, withdrew her candidacy for that job, also citing tax issues. Killefer faced questions tied to a $946.69 tax lien on her home filed by the D.C. government over nonpayment of employment taxes on household help.

    Mr. Obama's choice for Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, also faced criticism over his initial failure to pay $34,000 in income taxes. Geithner was eventually confirmed by the Senate. The president's first pick for Commerce secretary, Bill Richardson, withdrew from consideration amid a federal investigation into contracts won by donors.

    The spate of problems faced by Mr. Obama's picks for top jobs run counter to his efforts to convince the American people that he is bringing a higher ethical standard to the government.

    "I think the president would tell you he didn't believe we were going to change the way Washington has worked in the past three decades in the first two weeks of this administration," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in response to questions about his picks at a briefing today.

    Gibbs, who said the president and Daschle spoke about the resignation, also defended the administration's vetting process at the briefing, saying the president "has confidence in the system."

    Some major newspapers editorial boards have called for Daschle to withdraw his name from consideration; The New York Times this morning said he should step aside and "let the president choose a less-blemished successor."

    In addition to the tax issues, Daschle faced conflict of interest questions tied to income garnered from private sector work for health-related companies.

    "I will not be the architect of America's health system reform, but I remain one of its most fervent supports," Daschle said in his statement.

    He had previously apologized for the tax mistakes, calling them "completely inadvertent." Daschle said he had not initially been aware he needed to pay taxes on the car and driver.

    "I was a little stunned. I thought he was going to get confirmed," Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, the told the Associated Press. "It's regrettable. He's a very good man."

    Daschle Withdraws HHS Nomination - Political Hotsheet
  2. Andrew2382

    Andrew2382 Gold Member

    Oct 1, 2008
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    o wait

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