In a surprise move today, Tom Daschle withdrew his name from consideration as Health and Human Services Secretary. It had been expected that despite the controversy surrounding his tax evasion, he would be confirmed.
Daschle had been a prominent person in the Senate, and folks believed him invincible despite his admissions of not having paid all his taxes. But he said he didn't want to be a distraction when he withdrew his name from consideration as Health and Human Services Secretary CNN reports.
Obama had picked Daschle, who had supported Obama in the campaign. Further Daschle has experience in the Senate from being Senator from South Dakota. The former Senator said that the country needs someone who doesn't take attention from the country's business during difficult times. He said, "This work will require a leader who can cooperate with the full faith of Congress and the American people and without distraction."
After making the announcement Daschle said that,
"The focus of Congress should be on the urgent business of moving the president's economic agenda forward," he said.
Earlier both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times had called for Tom Daschle to withdraw from consideration as Health and Human Services. The Times maintained that confirming Daschle would send the wrong message to the public since he had failed to report taxes.
Following Daschle's announcement, President Obama said, “This morning Tom Daschle asked me to withdraw his nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services. I accept his decision with sadness and regret,” Obama said in a written statement handed to reporters at the White House just before 1 p.m - roughly 24 hours after he said he "absolutely" supported Daschle's nomination.