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February 3rd, 2009
06:13 PM ET

Obama: 'I made a mistake'

Program Note: Tune in tonight for Anderson's full interview with President Obama on AC360° at 10pm ET. President Obama says he takes the blame for the circumstances that led to Tom Daschle withdrawing.

soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. robyn caffrey keyser'' west virginia

    att " mr ' president "

    it wasnt your fault ' your staff should of been more warry of his background.

    yes we can

    February 3, 2009 at 9:46 pm |
  2. Renee

    Am I the only one that noticed that only one or two days ago Mr. Obama supported Daschle 100%? There was no mention of a "mistake" then. When the phone lines of Senators start lighting up with complaints, (I know, because I called), and newspapers started demanding he step down, then Daschle withdraws and Mr. Obama says he was wrong. What else is he going to say? Yes, he was wrong, and Geither is still wrong, and millions for Hollywood in a stimulus package during a borderline Depression is wrong, and who is next, Solis and conflict of interest? That Vanity Fair article is going to be mighty embarrassing. It will need an addendum or two, at least.

    February 3, 2009 at 9:41 pm |
  3. David Beranek

    I voted for change. Same horse s#%t different horse.

    February 3, 2009 at 9:40 pm |
  4. JB

    Falling on his sword and saying I made a mistake, I screwed up. You kidding me that fixes everything, Killefer Daschle and Geitner, their taxes woes for revealing and Obama new prior to their nominations in the vetting process. How disgraceful. What a disappointment.

    Tell me where the change is?

    February 3, 2009 at 9:37 pm |
  5. James M. Clarke

    I missed the beat 360 pic. So here is my caption:

    Michelle: I win, I get to stay with the kids for the rest of day and Barack gets to be interviewed by Anderson Cooper.

    February 3, 2009 at 9:37 pm |
  6. Esben Gunderson

    What a relief! After 8 years under Bush, we have a President that announces he made a mistake almost unsolicited. This is what we want. By the way, politicians are held to extrodinary standards. Is that worth a debate?

    February 3, 2009 at 9:34 pm |
  7. Sew, New Zealand

    Glad to see that he is man-enough and professional enough to admit his mistake – quite refreshing, dont you think ? At least he didnt blame the media which we all know a particular politician (hint, hint, no names here) is fond of doing after the last election...

    February 3, 2009 at 9:34 pm |
  8. Londa

    Over the last few days that President Obama has been in office, it has become clearer why our country is in the state it is. People, we finally have someone who is really willing to work for the average person and all the media can do is find every little thing they disagree with to speak of- it is time to pull together. No, everything he does will not be perfect, but it will be for the right reason. I could not agree more with the statement that everyone is human. When we elect a president, we are not electing GOD, he is a man! All these ones that are throwing rocks, lets check out their taxes. I am sure we would get rid of the debt we have-many if not most would not think the use of an automobile would be taxable income. If so, the next time you need to borrow a friend or relatives car because yours is broke for a month-make sure you put it on your taxes.

    February 3, 2009 at 9:30 pm |
  9. David Burns

    I do not believe those who have lost their jobs recently, which caused their homes to go into foreclosure and now have to pull their child out of college, really care about a cabinet member tax problem. None of us are perfect by any means.

    February 3, 2009 at 9:26 pm |
  10. Carmen

    To Gayle Barberis point, yeah, we are all scratching our heads, if I too made the right choice in voting for now turns out to be a FALSE promise of change. True regrets!!!

    Talk about a loss of faith and trust in the "Change We Can Believe In." Obama and his administration have failed the American people within two short weeks.

    Now the $64,000.00 dollar question remains, when is Timothy Geithner going to resign?? There is no place for his tax evasion ideaology getting a pass, when Daschle and Killefer did the right thing and withdrew. Geithner represents the same old tired politics that make the politicians earn the lack of trust.

    RESIGN GEITHNER!!

    February 3, 2009 at 9:25 pm |
  11. del goetz

    Would like to have some attention focused on First Ladies' educational attainment. It appears to me that Michelle Obama may possibly be the best educated First Lady of the last Century. How does she compare to Eleanor Roosevelt; Mamie Eisenhower; Lady Bird Johnson; Hillary Clinton, et. al.?

    February 3, 2009 at 9:20 pm |
  12. Peter, Boston Mass.

    Finally, a President with integrity. One who does what he says he is going to do and does the right thing even if there is possible detriment to himself. Not to mention how quick he is to fess up at take responsibility. I am indeed proud of President Obama.

    February 3, 2009 at 9:20 pm |
  13. Saleem Hawatmeh

    The President of the United States is Human.
    At least he has the humility to admit he made a mistake.
    He may be the most popular President the United States has had.
    But remember, no one is perfect.
    I'm just 15 years old and I know that.
    Time for others to stop being so narrow minded.

    February 3, 2009 at 9:14 pm |
  14. Denise, California

    I'm sure that after vetting all possible candidates you would come up with only a few without skeletons in their closets. For some reason they believe they are above the law. Obama is doing just fine...he has accomplished more in these last two weeks than George did in his first year! Let's back off a bit.

    Hey there Mr. President, are you listening?......
    How about placing a flat (3-5%) interest fee on all credit cards, across the board, so that we can actually make a payment and see a decrease in the balance. How about stopping the appraisers from telling us our homes are worth nothing this year when just last year they were worth much more. How about letting us refinance our homes from a 30 year loan to a 50 year loan for the time being so that we could afford our mortgage payments and not loose our houses. How about lowering our taxes for the next two years. How about NOT giving banks any more money to buy jets, vacations and bonuses with, but instead give us a chance to distribute our own funds in a more appropriate manner.

    February 3, 2009 at 9:02 pm |
  15. Victor, Canada

    Wow, you Americans are funny for 8 years you had a president that used corrupted dishonest people on his cabinet and ruin your country, now only after 2 weeks of being elected you are attacking the only best hope that you have of getting out of the mess the republicans and the BUSH administration has created. Do you really believe that the republicans critics to the current economic plan are honest, after 8 years of wrecking the economy and being the servants of corporate America. Come on you are wiser than that, Obama is not perfect but he appears to be more honest than the previous administration. You have elected him, thus let him try, I'm not saying to close yours eyes, but Obama has a higher IQ than BUSH and he was not a D student in Harvard, for once you have an intelligent man at the helm, I doubt he is there to fail

    February 3, 2009 at 9:02 pm |
  16. Faye

    Thank you, President Obama for being a true leader. We are
    truly sorry about Senator Daschle, but proud that he respects you enough to have done the right thing. You are a principled man, and we know that you will always do what is in the best interest of the country.

    We are praying for your continued success and the safety of you and your family.

    One of our country's mantras should be...."Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me". God expects no less of us.

    Crossett, AR

    February 3, 2009 at 9:01 pm |
  17. Dan

    War in Iraq: $600 Billion

    Economic Stimulus Plan: $800 Billion

    A President who admits he's wrong: Priceless

    February 3, 2009 at 8:54 pm |
  18. Mathias Guishard

    Hi! You know the disgusting part about this and why again we find our economy in perils? Because the government will spend its last dollars going after average ordinary citizens who owe less than 1000 dollars and garnish wages, file a court petition and write constant reminders. How is it that high ranking government officials or senior executives are exempt from this harrASSment? The embarrassment should not fall on Obama it should fall on the American government, the IRS and the upper middle class and rich who always find a way to cheat and outwit the system. This has and should be an eye-opening event that should get the correct media attention. The focus should be on the failure of the IRS to equally and correctly collect as stated on constitutional rights.

    February 3, 2009 at 8:52 pm |
  19. Adriana

    Happy to hear that the president finally said that he made a mistake...he woke up....But what happens with the treasury secretary that was already confirmed? Is he going to be fired? Well, I think that it is tough for the president of the United States, he is only human and he has so much pressure on him...We should give him some more time, remember how it is to have a new job...

    February 3, 2009 at 8:49 pm |
  20. GinaH- California

    Yea he screwed up and continues to let these guys in that dont pay their taxes. I still dont think the first one should have been confirmed that is terrible. Also going back on his promise of keeping jobs in the US. What is wrong with him and his "staff" this is amazing we lose jobs and he doesnt care nor his Chief of staff. Where is the American part of them?? Also Get rid of the stimulas in regards to Acorn getting anymore of our money. If you win without those cheaters it is fine bringing in the losers hum. Also why do you think JayZ is so brilliant like you told Robin of GMA...after his Monday performance Monday before the Inaguration...I am a Democrat and am ashamed of what is happening...These guys are all are losers I dont care how much money they make..!

    February 3, 2009 at 8:48 pm |
  21. David

    It is so refreshing to have a president talk to us as adults. Instead of spinning it, he just owned up to error. More importantly, he get's why he was wrong. Namely, that he was not living up to his own standards. Obama's selcted the best and brightest to get us out of this mess. A few of them made mistakes that millions of americans make. Let's take it for what it is and move on.

    February 3, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  22. sang chiong

    Confucius said " to make a mistake and not rectifying it, is the biggest of all mistakes" To right wrongs is the purpose of government, he counseled a ruler seeking good government.

    February 3, 2009 at 8:44 pm |
  23. philip van veghel

    hi Anderson,

    following the american politics i have a comment on mr Daschle .
    Why could have mr Daschle not have refused when asked by president Obama to take part of his gov knowing about his tax problems. Its not president Obama screwed up but mr Daschle by hoping to slip through and have a good job.Hopefully it doesnt happen again. These kind of Guys ( Daschle ) are not worthy to lead or have a public office.

    February 3, 2009 at 8:36 pm |
  24. Sheryl Dawson

    Hello. I think President Obama is doing an excellent job in very difficult and trying circumstances. It fact, it is the worst, overall, for the USA and a USA President in modern history. While he is a gentleman and took responsibility for his nominees withdrawal I believe he should not shoulder all the blame. Surely he is relied on the vetting process prior to formally supporting the nominees. Also, do not forget that they all paid up prior to the nomination. And the coffers need all the tax payer dollars it can get!

    On the recovery plan: Lou Dobbs runnning off at the mouth like he is he ultimate expert on a very large document is annoying, at best. Is he a celebrated economist? Or a successful businessman who has employed hundreds if not thousands of people? President Obama's advisors and members of both parties consists of both. Mr. Dobb's reporting comes across so biased one would be inclined to think he is Republican lobbyist instead of a balanced and measured CNN reporter. In any case, his comments do little to assist in the much needed recovery of the USA in order that it may once again take its place as the greatest Nation on earth.

    Keep up the good work Anderson.

    Best wishes,

    Sheryl Dawson

    February 3, 2009 at 8:34 pm |
  25. James

    I would like to know how President Obama rates all of the items in the stimulus package. What is numbr 1, 2, 3 etc., in a priority rating.
    I think that we need something but I feel some of the items in this plan should be separate bills at a later date. Let's build roads and bridges and develope green energy that is the jobs part. Wake up politicians.

    February 3, 2009 at 8:29 pm |
  26. Eric M. Ellis Cincinnati,

    I'm concerned that the News Media is so used to forging the signature of the American People that they no longer know what we think. I think the honest answer to the Presidential appointment misfires is quite simple. His appointments are constrained by one major obstacle he has to choose from a pool of candidates (i.e. people) who are imperfect." This generally means that who ever he chooses is going to be imperfect and a person who has made mistakes. The Presidents strategy is simple. He will continue to serve up people and they will be imperfect as all of us are and then he will wait to see if the American People or The Media will accept their imperfections or focus on them every minute on the hour.
    If the media will let us speak we will speak loudly when it's a big enough problem. Otherwise lets not eliminate another very capable leader like Tom Daschle he is widely regarded as an honorable person. p.s.A Smart media recognizes that in the world of partisan politics there are always 48% of the people who provide you with mindless objections.

    February 3, 2009 at 8:26 pm |
  27. Lorraine

    I think that the discourse, the opinions,the confluence of REAL dialogue occurring at this point in time because of the rhetoric and campaign promises of our new President is refreshing, invigorating and PROMISING for the future of our government. Stop talking with the talking heads...........talk to US......I'm encouraged BECAUSE the magnifying glass predisposed by President Obama's campaign message is ALREADY WORKING. How about this??....IRS audit for EVERY Congressperson, EVERY Senator, EVERY big network commentator......every lobbyist........THEN let's see what everyone has to say........bet the government would rake in millions and millions and millions...............that's all I'm sayin'....................cut our President some slack............or put the microscope on YOURSELVES..................and yes, I'm all for the pork coming out of the stim pack................all green jobs, all REAL job production, ALL this year roll-out................and President Obama is ALL good for already creating change.........be truthful............but he's learning FAST.

    February 3, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  28. J. Dimas

    Anderson, the president did not answered your question about where his mistake was made. Yes there are two set of standard for politics and regular citizens. I would like to know how much Mr. Daschle paid for back taxes and if his credit record is bad due to no paying this taxes.

    thanks
    jdimas

    February 3, 2009 at 8:22 pm |
  29. kathy koplen

    President Obama,
    I sympathize with you Mr. President, because I made the same mistake too ! I had trust in the wrong person.. In the 80's – I filed taxes with a self -employed spouse who had overlook reporting income from a bonus. The IRS had no sympathy a couple years later when I was a single parent of 3 with no child support and divorced. IRS wanted their money. It took 5 years to clear my name and get my money back they had taken to pay his tax bill.
    Advice Mr. President :
    Call the IRS before you make your next nomination – they could find some bailout money too!!

    February 3, 2009 at 8:18 pm |
  30. Larry

    Just a publicity ploy by obama as he knows he has nothing to lose and everything to gain by saying he's sorry for somebody else's misfortune. Didn't obama vet the guy? How soon we forget obama's 20-year relationship with a racist pastor.

    Obama is a politician no different than the rest.

    February 3, 2009 at 8:16 pm |
  31. Mary

    President Obama's magnanimous act.
    He has chosen 3 republicans to his cabinet. Even after that, republicans want only another republican to replace Sen. Judd Gregg!!

    February 3, 2009 at 8:11 pm |
  32. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Yesterday, David Gewirtz, said: “Google’s behavior in this
    incident should be a role model for other companies – and, dare I say, our government as well. ”

    Will that President Obama is also a blogger’s AC360?
    He must have read and been inspired for the interview with Anderson Cooper.

    February 3, 2009 at 8:08 pm |
  33. JL

    I am very glad to see our President take accountability, because in the end he is who we voted for not his cabinet. I am also extremely pleased with this administrations transparency reguarding the cabinet selections. When you are near perfect in almost all you do like President Obama, people will be petty if they witness a stumble or misstep. Gayle you absolutely voted for the right person! It's been 15 days since he's been president officially, we've just endured 8 years of unimaginable secrecy! We have a very long road to recovery in front of us, and the President deserves our faith and patience.

    February 3, 2009 at 8:01 pm |
  34. JC-Los Angeles

    Let's take a look; Oath of Office? do over; Tom Daschle? do over: Nancy Killefer? do over; Bill Richardson? do over.

    I can't wait for the next shoe to drop; priceless reality TV.

    February 3, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  35. Shelly Carwell

    I think that CNN as always would like to see the President fail. Give President Oboma a chance to start working on these big problems. This man hasn't been in office a month, and you are already trying to being him down. GIVE PRESIDENT OBOMA A CHANCE TO DO HIS JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 3, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  36. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Anderson.
    What brave of Pres. Obama!
    I accept his (Pres. Obama) apology what he made little mistake…. Wow! What changed? I knew what he made mistake to choose Tom Daschle haven’t paid a tax…. I am really surprise Tom Daschle withdrawal his nomination his job. But I am proud of Obama is saying apology to people. I understand he took blame himself. I found out that there was breaking news on Situation Room and got e-mail from CNN too.
    I am forwarding see you and Pres. Obama to interview tonight. I can’t wait!!!!! See you there!

    February 3, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  37. Lora

    Given the extreme corruption shown by the last administration, with the Cheney connection to Haliburton's war profiteering, constant conflicts of interest, etc, that went completely unexamined and unrebuked, I think it is a terrible shame that Daschle's tremendous experience won't be accessible to us in a time of urgent need for this country due to what appears to be a fairly commonplace transgression/error/oversight. The IRS can only verify whether a tiny portion of taxpayers are doing their returns correctly. Millions make mistakes, and millions lie, or at least shade the truth (e.g., "Well, I DO use that vehicle I am deducting as a business expense once in a while for business. Who will know how often?"). The people complaining that the Daschles of the world can get away with it and they don't are being disingenuous - the primary difference between them and Tom Daschle is the dollar amount of the transgression. In fact, most of the complainers will never be subjected to the level of scrutiny that Daschle is undergoing right now, and if they were, they would need to get a bank loan to solve their tax problems. The press focuses too often on the irrelevant and fails to examine the truly important.

    February 3, 2009 at 7:56 pm |
  38. Michelle

    I like the fact that President Obama is a standup guy.
    From what I have seen so far it looks like a great interview.
    Nice work Anderson.

    February 3, 2009 at 7:56 pm |
  39. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Before late than never!

    Good examples this week. Assumed error 'human' in Google and President Obama took, too, his mistake.

    Yesterday, David Gewirtz, said: "Google's behavior in this
    incident should be a role model for other companies – and, dare I say, our government as well. "

    Will that President Obama is also a blogger's AC360?
    He must have read and been inspired for the interview with Anderson Cooper.

    I like so much this!

    February 3, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  40. Alex

    Anderson, I can't believe you would interrupt the president in almost every response he gave. I guess your thoughts and questions are more important than his responses, right?

    February 3, 2009 at 7:54 pm |
  41. judy-nyc

    Really looking forward to Anderson's interview with the President !
    I think this has been under-reported by networks: it was Obama's vetting team that discovered another tax problem first–in mid-December. But Daschle didn't tell O's team about the chauffeur car thing until January 2nd, after he'd finally paid taxes on the drives.
    Daschle was perfect for HHS, given his depth of experence & that's clearly why Obama supported Daschle much longer than he should have. Yes, we need to "keep them honest" & that refers not just to politicians but reporters too. We need some balanced reporting, not just Right Wing talking pts.

    February 3, 2009 at 7:54 pm |
  42. Joe G. (From Illinois)

    For Obama to limit himself to just this one mistake so far goes to show what the fiber of this country is up against. And.. As I’m sure you have noticed, “I’m even leaving the “”Moral”” factor out of it. He might want to come back later or another time.. He just started the job!!

    February 3, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  43. Terry

    President Obama, has been more candid than any other President
    in my life time. We all make mistakes, it's just nice when we take
    responcibility for it. He has been left with a huge mess. Would have been nice to hear Ex Pres. Bush own up to his part in it. I am looking
    forward to Obama's administration when they all get confirmed and
    the country can start moving forward. Thank you President Obama
    for being a real person, because americcans need to know that you
    care. You will make mistakes, and that's okay, at least you seem to
    learn from yours.

    February 3, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  44. John B., Bethesda, MD

    While the President's candor is somewhat refreshing to hear, I think the adjective that best describes his cabinet appointment selection process to date is "slapdaschle" – defn. – done in a hasty, careless and/or reckless manner. With vetting like this, it kind of makes you wish for the good old days. Where are John McCain and Sarah Palin when you need them?!?

    February 3, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  45. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Anderson.
    What brave of Pres. Obama!
    I accept his (Pres. Obama) apology what he made little mistake.... Wow! What change? I knew what he made mistake to choose Tom Daschle haven't paid a tax.... I am really surprise Tom Daschle withdrawal his nomination his job Health of Department. But I am proud of Obama is saying apology to people. I understand he took blame himself. I found out that there was breaking news on Situation Room and got e-mail from CNN too as a above it's say samething.
    I am forwarding see you and Pres. Obama to interview tonight. I can't wait!!!!! See you there!

    February 3, 2009 at 7:50 pm |
  46. Judy

    That wasn't much of an admission of error. The way to do it is to say "yes, I made a mistake and I take responsibility." The end. It detracts from sincereity to have added the rest.

    February 3, 2009 at 7:47 pm |
  47. kalyn - Missouri

    Pres Obama's admitting he made a mistake just confirms my reason for voting for the MAN!!! It's about time that someone in Washington admitted that they are human.. I can only hope that Obama's realism is contagious and maybe these Big CEO's and govt offiicials will get a Clue and Stop thinking that they are above the law..
    Obama needs to cut them off at the knees..and bring them back to reality where the rest of us live..

    February 3, 2009 at 7:46 pm |
  48. Ann

    Yes Obama is making a mistake. Why not give the american taxpayers their money instead of giving it to the big corporations and banks. If the money went to the every working american that files tax returns ( obviously with a thought out way) then the american people would have more money in their hands and in their bank accounts. That would allow them to be approved for more loans because they would have the assets, which would start the wheels going again in the financial sector which would jump start the economy and many other parts of the economy. This way they are starting from the bottom (the people that are hurting the most) and it will trickle up.

    However, based on what I see the plan calls for more money going to more corporations with the hope that it will trickle down – but it never does.

    I am not an economist nor have any expertise in financial situations but the more I speak to people about this idea the more it makes sense!

    February 3, 2009 at 7:41 pm |
  49. Ann

    Yes Obama is making a mistake. Why not give the american taxpayers their money instead of giving it to the big corporations and banks. If the money went to the every working american that files tax returns ( obviously with a thought out way) then the american people would have more money in their hands and in their bank accounts. That would allow them to be approved for more loans because they would have the assets, which would start the wheels going again in the financial sector which would jump start the economy and many other parts of the economy. This way they are starting from the bottom (the people that are hurting the most) and it will trickle up.

    However, based on what I see the plan calls for more money going to more corporations with the hope that it will trickle down – but it never does.

    I am not an economist nor have any expertise in financial situations but the more I speak to people about this idea the more it makes sense!

    February 3, 2009 at 7:41 pm |
  50. Linda B., Ga.

    Takes a real MAN to admit a mistake.....thanks Pres. Obama, you truly are a real MAN .....

    Thank God this information was found out now and not a year from now, or else there probably would've been hell to pay. Of course, I'm sure there are quite a few Politicians that can say they haven't cheated on taxes or whatever....

    February 3, 2009 at 7:38 pm |
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