Daschle Withdraws as Nominee for HHS Secretary

Tom Daschle withdrew Tuesday as President Barack Obama’s nominee to be health and human services secretary, dealing potential blows to both speedy health care reform and Obama’s hopes for a smooth start in the White House.

“Now we must move forward,” Obama said in a written statement accepting “with sadness and regret” Daschle’s surprise request to be removed from consideration. A day earlier, Obama had said he “absolutely” stood by Daschle in the face of problems over back taxes and potential conflicts of interest.

Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader and a strong backer of Obama’s presidential bid, said he would have been unable to operate “with the full faith of Congress and the American people.”

“I am not that leader, and will not be a distraction” to Obama’s agenda, he said.

See President Obama’s Interview on this issue:

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