February 3rd, 2009
02:57 PM ET

Daschle pushed?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/03/art.daschle1.gi.jpg]Candy Crowley | BIO
CNN Senior Political Correspondent

From a Democratic source familiar with Daschle’s thinking… (this is a pro-Daschle person)

Was Daschle pushed? “Things don’t work that cleanly.” (eg: source “doesn’t think” there was direct White House pressure, but couldn’t say absolutely not. Source couldn’t say but knows of no one else who urged Daschle to pull out-say a fellow Senator...as opposed to the White House)

This was “not about whether he (Daschle) could survive but what the (confirmation) process would do to Obama and (health care reform and economic agenda) ”… It’s a question of the “price of that confirmation.”

Did The New York Times editorial calling on Daschle to withdraw from his nomination as HHS Secretary play a part? “He read it.”

“Tom has been a politician for a very long time. He understands this town. He made a mistake, he apologized, but timing matters. There was a critical mass building.” (Questions about the meaning of President Obama’s stated ethics standards).

Daschle going through a messy confirmation would put the President on the defensive and grab unneeded headlines. The (NYT) 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.”

Daschle mood? “He wanted to do this. He wanted to move health care. He has spent a good deal of his life, 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: Candy Crowley • Raw Politics
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Gerald Anderson

    President Obama’s recent appointees have become problematic – or have they? The current media consensus suggests that there may be issues with President Obama maintaining his transparency campaign promise. However, I respectfully submit that the recent issues actually support the promise of transparency. Is that not what we have? Is ‘everything’ not coming to light as promised? Does everyone (media and public) not now see that the weeding out process seems to be working just fine?

    Indeed, I would not put it past President Obama to have ‘engineered’ this sequence of events for the specific purpose of disqualifying otherwise qualified candidates so as to reinforce his promise. I mean, his response has been that he ‘screwed up and it won’t happen again’. Taking that position generates far more political equity and provides far more public reassurance than to have not had to take that position.

    Problems? Or a shrewd move by a cool, calculating politician that has been ‘misunderestimated’ from Day 1?

    February 4, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  2. Marilyn FL

    The vetters didn't vet taxes!? Dascle shouldn't have accepted d nomnination knowing 100k in unpaid taxes would have popped up – own it! In private with d President.he should have told him and both would have avoided this mess! Daschle is old school or a fool or both! This is d change we no longer want in Washinpton- or hadn't Daschle heard?

    February 3, 2009 at 11:39 pm |
  3. Marian

    Can't wait until some of these whiny Republicans tax returns are audited, and there are those probably waiting in the wings to do just that. Great stuff coming from the party of Palin and "Joe the now war correspondent."

    February 3, 2009 at 9:28 pm |
  4. Jill from TN

    We have to make certain that our standards don't get so stringent that no nominees of worthwhile experience can withstand scrutiny. I'm glad the public and the Senate were able to make a distinction between the scope of the tax problems of Geithner and Daschle.

    February 3, 2009 at 9:01 pm |
  5. Linda B., Ga.

    They need to check everybody else out, on Capital Hill, to see who else owes back taxes. Granted Daschle has been gone for a few years, but, I'm sure if some checking was done, in our current House of Reps and Senate, the IRS would find some unpaid dollars...and might even be able to help the Countries Deficit a little more....

    February 3, 2009 at 7:45 pm |
  6. Linda B., Ga.

    My only problem with this whole thing is IF "we the people" tried this tax evasion thing, we'd be taken to court, by the IRS.....

    February 3, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  7. Barbara in Boston

    Maybe, like Richardson, Daschle will get a chance to serve at a later point in the administration.

    February 3, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  8. Sharon, LA, CA

    "He understands. He made a mistake." Please stop insulting us.

    February 3, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  9. Carlos

    mary bacilieri February 3rd, 2009 3:17 pm ET

    Please for the sake of all Americans let President Obama have his dream team!

    We have put our trust in him when we elected him President.

    I’m afraid no one is perfect in the eyes of our beloved I.R.S…

    We have no more time to lose when it comes to our economy and espesially for me our health care crisis.

    We had the best possible candidate in Tom Daeshel.

    Shame on all who stood in his way!

    You're too funny!!!

    Yea! Let him have his dream team of tax cheats, liars and crooks!

    Maybe he should just give Hot Rod Blago a shot at one his open spots! I'm sure he's all paid up on his taxes!

    February 3, 2009 at 5:50 pm |

    Pushed! They should have thrown him out on his rear end. Not paying taxes is inexcusable for a position like this.Obama ran on ethics and honesty. I voted for him but you have to wonder about his or his staff's judgement on this pick.

    February 3, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  11. Bill Bird

    Was Daschle not aware of his tax delinquency before he was vetted for a Cabinet post? Surely he knew earlier and could have, should have, corrected the matter immediately; then his behavior wouldn't have become a political embarrassment for him and President Obama. His apology didn't salvage his integrity, in my view.

    February 3, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  12. Pat

    I agree with the idea that we require a cabinet right now that is made up of the best and brightest, regardless of what side of the aisle they come from. Not paying taxes however (especially when you are doing well financially) is a big no no to the American public (as well it should be). I want the President to have the best cabinet he can – but we have had enough of people who thought they were better than the rest of us, and that the rules did not apply. Doesn't it bother people that $138,000 is more than most people make in three to five YEARS???? Let's get the best and brightest alright, but lets make sure they share our burdens and come from amoung, not from above us.

    February 3, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  13. Les Brown

    You can't even spell his name correctly. The President made ethics an important issue in his campaign. He also promised this nation that lobbyists wouldn't take up residence in his administration. Daschle is both a lobbyist and unethical. The president can't nominate people like Daschle if he expects us to believe what he says about ethics in his administration.

    February 3, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  14. Linda Endres

    I guess I am not quit as concerned about Daschle paying his taxes as I am concerned about the people who paid him. I know that to get expertise we will also have some intermingling of the regulators and the regulated, but in the case of Health Care I think Obama has to be very careful. We really need health care reform. It would be nice if I could afford my MS medication ( I think my granddaughters would appreciate it as well, they are old enough to realize what is going to happen as the disease progresses and it would be nice if they could reach adulthood before that happens).

    Looking forward to health care reform. Of course I'd prefer a one payer system. It is very confusing dealing with several different companies.

    February 3, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  15. Dan

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. We cannot have a government of saints. So lets have the next best thing, a government of people best qualified for the job. I am tired of this holier than thaw attitude of the press and public. If we looked hard enough at any one we can find faults. This is a time for Americans to stand together and not continue to tear each other apart.

    February 3, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  16. Annie Kate

    Its a shame Daschle pulled out – no one is perfect and there will always be those who can find something to complain about. If we are waiting for saints to come and be in the cabinet then we aren't going to get any change much less the change we need in a timely fashion. We need to focus on the big picture instead of the minutiae that the press brings up and keeps going because they have to fill their 24×7 hour news cycle. If people are wanting perfection in DC then sending politicians there to fill the government seats isn't going to work!

    February 3, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  17. Gilday

    Good riddance! There are about a thousand reasons why Obama would not be President or have such a friendly congress if it wasn't for Howard Dean! They need to grow up, get over petty BS, and get on to nominating him to HHS Sec. The notion of Bipartisanship or post partisan politics should not just apply to including friendly Republicans!

    February 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  18. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Is three cabinet nominees withdrawing before confirmation for ethical reasons a new record? Didn't this President run on judgement? Apparently he knew ahead of time about the ethical and legal issues of Richardson, Geitner, Daschle and Kellefer; but nominated them anyway. What does that say about his judgement?

    February 3, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  19. Carole in CA

    If Daschle was pushed by anything, it was by the realization that Obama wasn't kidding about wanting integrity brought back into politics. How many nominees have bailed because of investigations into their business & personal ethics? It's about time someone take the lead and stop the shady business as usual policies that have been taken for granted for way too long.

    February 3, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  20. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    Daschle was WRONG to accept the appointment knowing he had this "baggage"! Period.

    Honestly! No one is prefect, of course.

    February 3, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  21. Millie Pea

    What REALLY bothers me is the link to the health care industry lobbiest providing the free car and driver. Why are they not making a bigger fuss about THAT? This man was going to be in charge of Health and Human Services and hopefully help to fix one of our biggest problems...Health Care. How in the heck was THAT going to be in the people's best interest when this man already had GREAT ties to the insurance industry? This is business as usual. Hey media...focus on the lobby ties that is the BIG issue! Help that change and we will have REAL change FOR the people. Obama and the Dems and the Republicans should hear that we wont take it anymore. We DO know about the unhealthy ties to the special interests and THAT is what is hurting the USA...the people.

    February 3, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  22. Patricia

    We knew that Obama was corrupt and that he would bring a corrupt administration to the White House. Everyone wanted change? NOT. If Mickey Mouse and Dead People had not voted for this man via ACORN we might have a real President in office. This Presidency is a disgrace for our country, and devastating to our future.

    February 3, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  23. Sharon Kitchen

    could the first person who is perfect.....please step up..........

    February 3, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  24. Zoey

    Maybe the fact that all these potential cabinet members can't pay their taxes correctly is a sign that our tax laws are a bit too complicated?

    February 3, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  25. Susan

    This wasn't just about his taxes. People in his home state wanted him out so bad large $$ went to his opponent's campaign to make sure he didn't win his seat again. He had other issues taxpayers didn't like before this latest issue and they were going to surface again and again.

    I also respect him for his withdrawal before more old business surfaced and became a quagmire instead of getting on with business.

    February 3, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  26. Susan Agli

    Blame the IRS and the tax preparation company that put Dashel and others in this situation. I think the IRS should prepare the tax returns for all elected officials. I don't like the idea that there is probably a large percentage of our elected officials who couldn't pass an IRS investigation.
    1) Every elected offical of the US Government must have their tax returns audited every year.
    2) This would help keep honest people honest and get rid of the dishonest people who are making serious decisions about the US Government policy.

    Doesn't this just make sense to everyone? Come on – simple logical solutions.

    Thank You!
    Now please send a message ti everyone you know and let's take care of this problem now and forever.

    February 3, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  27. Matthew

    Why was the President standing behind Daschle? It appears even Daschle realized that the hypocrisy of his situation demanded he not be confirmed, yet the President did not. Can we expect more of this? This is hardly change we can believe in.

    February 3, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  28. JC- Los Angeles

    Fascinating to see that Toto is still alive and well and pulling back the curtain on politicians, executives and countless leaders.

    Our nation has been run into the ground by sociopathic behavior from the connected few who only man up when caught.

    President Obama, a master of operating in the gray and the ultimate faceman in a Facebook world, needs to change the culture of corruption or risk losing whatever respect is left.

    February 3, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  29. Matthew

    Our President is justifiably outraged at the special treatment given Wall Street. But he appears to be immune from the unethical and overly political actions of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

    February 3, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  30. Barb Larson

    Had Daschle and Geithner not been nominated to Cabinet positions, we'd never have known about, and they never would have paid, their back tax "mistakes". What does that say about their memories, their knowledge of economics or their ethics? I am a Democrat. I voted for Obama. Giving either men these posts suggests that Obama agrees with "politics as usual", and that's NOT what I voted for. Whether Daschle was "pushed out" or "removed himself", that was the right move. Now Geithner needs to remove himself, as well. That move would show "ethics as unusual" instead of "politics as usual".

    February 3, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  31. Lisa

    As a tax payer, I wouldn't dare not to pay tax. How could we than said Mr. Tom Daschle, Tim Geithner made a mistake? Jix if up!!

    February 3, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  32. Obed Edom

    Mr. Daschle was hurting the momentum for President Obama. All I heard last night at the YMCA will was working out was its a different standard for the important connected people in Washington. What has or will change.. The Stimulus package seems not to be big on jobs but more on spending on feel good programs vs getting workers working.. The economy needs to feel good and so do its constituents. Mr Daschle did well to remove himself and stop being a distraction..

    What about Howard Dean for the HHS this top spot.. He did great as an ambassador and the DNC Chair,, He has the background no tax problems with his money and he has a background in this field. Mr Dean was a great foot solidier for the party and Mr Obama.

    Last but not least, promises of ethics were made on the trail and now its going to hard to make excuses for anyone especially since our new President who we favor is a change agent...

    February 3, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  33. Kristen-University Park, PA

    Um...Daschle knew just what he was doing by not paying taxes on that car. Politicians are always sorry once they get caught. I don't really care whether he was pushed out or not. He's out and lets hope he stays there.

    And as far as Obama, its disappointing if he knew about this. Politicians making the rules does not exempt them from following the rules.

    Xtina I agree, all the career politicians need to get the boot. Just like President max of 2 terms so it should for them all, thats a change Washington needs.

    February 3, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  34. earle,florida

    Dascheles is lump on a log,propped-up by Kennedy ,and Hillary all of which have done nothing to improve, "America's Health Care System"! The only facilitating body promoting pragmatic legislation for decent health care was, "AARP", period! He was a tool of the lobbyist,and brought controversy ,and shame to Obama's Dream's.

    February 3, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  35. Anna - Miami, FL

    Is he auditioning for "Days of Our Lives" or is that Dr. Marlena Evans in the background supporting his plea? What is his plea?– to remain in the White House and revitalize the Sally Jesse Rafael look?

    February 3, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  36. David Burchill

    With all the mess with Tax problems for the people that are making the rules but can't keep it straight themselves. Maybe it's time to overhaul our tax structure to simplify taxes for everyone. This way nominations by the President get confirmed in a timely manner.

    February 3, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  37. mary bacilieri

    Please for the sake of all Americans let President Obama have his dream team!

    We have put our trust in him when we elected him President.

    I'm afraid no one is perfect in the eyes of our beloved I.R.S...

    We have no more time to lose when it comes to our economy and espesially for me our health care crisis.

    We had the best possible candidate in Tom Daeshel.

    Shame on all who stood in his way!

    February 3, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  38. Cindy

    I don't care if Daschle was pushed out or not! Every one of them that haven't paid their taxes should step down. How can they say that they are for change and turning this country around when they themselves did wrong and tried to gip the nation of what they owed it?


    February 3, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  39. Carmen McAdams

    How is it that this was known since June '08, and no one saw this as a double standard of ethics, do as I say not as I do. There is a clear breakdown in the vetting process, lying on the lengthy questionnaire/application process, or worse yet, a blind eye to (Daschle) someone who Obama has known for a long time.

    What Daschle failed to pay is taxes at the time far exceeds what many struggling Americans and illegal immigrants make annually. Daschle and this administration saw the writing on the wall and knew the days of admitting your sins and saying I'm sorry won't cut it any longer.

    Pushed out by the power of the press.

    February 3, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  40. xtina, chicago IL

    oh please ! let's get rid of some of these career politicians (on both sides of the aisle).

    Note to Pres. Obama: I propose term limits in Congress; now that would be change.

    February 3, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  41. ctrealty

    I'm simply a amazed at how many politicians think they can get away without paying taxes! I would never think to avoid paying my fair share... After all it is the "American" way to support the running of our government.

    I guess some government officials don't want to pay themselves?

    February 3, 2009 at 3:03 pm |