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  1. #1
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    Talking Daschle Withdraws as Cabinet Nominee

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/04/us...4obama.html?hp

    By JEFF ZELENY and DAVID STOUT
    Published: February 3, 2009

    WASHINGTON — Tom Daschle withdrew his name on Tuesday as President Obama’s nominee to lead the Health and Human Services Department, a startling decision that came only hours after the withdrawal of another candidate for a high White House office.

    Mr. Daschle withdrew a day after Mr. Obama unequivocally declared that he would stand behind him as his problems over income tax arrears were scrutinized on Capitol Hill. The nominee’s tax issues had developed into a troublesome distraction for the president, who entered the White House pledging to hold his people to the highest ethical standards.

    The president said he accepted Mr. Daschle’s sudden withdrawal “with sadness and regret.” Later, in an interview on NBC’s “Nightly News With Brian Williams,” Mr. Obama said he took responsibility for the Daschle episode.

    “I’m here on television saying I screwed up,” the president told Mr. Williams. The important thing, the president went on, is not trying to be free of mistakes but “it’s owning up to them and trying to make sure you never repeat them.”

    Earlier Tuesday, the chief White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, said Mr. Daschle had made his own decision to withdraw. “He did not get a signal” from the White House, Mr. Gibbs said.

    But there was no suggestion either that President Obama had tried to persuade Mr. Daschle not to pull out, just as there was no hint that the president had tried to dissuade Nancy Killefer, his choice for chief White House performance officer, from withdrawing earlier in the day. She, too, cited tax arrears, in her case District of Columbia unemployment taxes.

    “They both decided that their nominations would distract,” Mr. Gibbs said at a news briefing.

    Ms. Killefer said Tuesday morning that a debate over her confirmation would create a “distraction” and delay the urgent agenda facing the administration — words similar to those used by Mr. Daschle in canceling his candidacy for the Cabinet post. (Bill Burton, a White House spokesman, said Mr. Daschle would also step down from his position of White House health-care czar, a post that did not need Senate confirmation.)

    Mr. Gibbs said the White House was already looking for replacements for Mr. Daschle and Ms. Kellefer, and that the president remained confident in the administration’s process for vetting candidates.

    Mr. Daschle’s decision to step aside came as a surprise on Capitol Hill, where Democratic senators had rallied behind him after he had expressed regret over his failure to pay about $140,000 in taxes when they were due, and on Monday had vowed to press ahead. The Daschle nomination is the highest-level political casualty of the young Obama administration.

    “Now we must move forward,” Mr. Obama said in a statement.

    Mr. Daschle, a former Senate Democratic leader who had been a political mentor to Mr. Obama and whose longtime aides now hold key positions in the White House, said that because of the tax issue he would not have been able to lead a reform of the nation’s health care system “with the full faith of Congress and the American people.”

    Mr. Daschle’s withdrawal was announced jointly by the president and Mr. Daschle in a printed statement handed out to reporters at the White House.

    “Tom Daschle has devoted his life to public service and health care reform, so that every American has access to health care they can afford,” Mr. Obama said. “I had hoped that he could bring this passion and expertise to bear to finally achieve that goal, which is so essential to the progress of our economy and the well-being of businesses and families across out nation.”

    “Tom made a mistake, which he has openly acknowledged,” Mr. Obama said, speaking about Mr. Daschle, who he considers a close personal friend. “He has not excused it, nor do I. But that mistake and this decision cannot diminish the many contributions Tom has made to this country.”

    The withdrawal of Ms. Killefer was in itself a big development for the new Obama administration, which has now had tax problems arise with at least three nominees: Timothy F. Geithner was confirmed as Treasury Secretary despite the news that he had failed to pay about $34,000 in taxes from early in the decade. Each of the nominees has paid the tax arrears as they have come to light.

    The moves came as Mr. Obama nominated Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, to serve as commerce secretary. That position, the president had hoped, would be the last appointment he would need to make to his cabinet. Advisers to the Democratic governor of New Hampshire, John Lynch, said on Tuesday that Mr. Lynch would name another Republican, Bonnie Newman, to succeed Mr. Gregg in the Senate.

    Only a day before, Mr. Daschle’s nomination had seemed safe, given that the Democrats have a comfortable majority in the Senate and that President Obama and several Democratic senators had issued statements backing him. Senator Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who heads the Senate Finance Committee, had expressed support for Mr. Daschle in advance of the committee’s private meeting with him on Monday to discuss his nomination and the tax issues. Mr. Baucus, who had occasionally clashed with Mr. Daschle when the latter was the Democratic leader in the Senate, said on Tuesday that Mr. Daschle would have been “a terrific partner” in the campaign for health-care reform.

    “I hope and fully expect that he will continue to play a leading and valuable role in health policy for this country,” Mr. Baucus said in a statement.

    Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who heads the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, issued a statement calling Mr. Daschle “a public servant of high character and deep devotion to this country” with deep knowledge of health care issues.

    “Tom will remain a respected voice in this important debate,” Mr. Kennedy said.Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, told reporters he was saddened by the withdrawal of Mr. Daschle, whom he said would have been “ideally suited” to head the huge health agency. But Mr. Reid said he agreed that the nomination had become too much of a distraction.

    Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, said in a statement that he regretted Mr. Daschle’s withdrawal. “Today is not a good day for the cause of health care reform,” Mr. Kerry said.

    But Senator John Ensign, Republican of Nevada, had a different perspective on Mr. Daschle. “I think he spared the president some embarrassment,” Mr. Ensign told reporters, adding that he did not think some of Mr. Daschle’s explanations for the tax issues could “pass the smell test.” (no shit)

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  3. #3
    TXCharlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd View Post
    LOL - The "Audacity of Dope" - Anyone else would be embarassed to put an ad out like that

    He has a lot of gall preaching CAFE standards too - That old clunker of his probably puts out as much pollution as twenty Honda Accords.

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