Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Daschle Drops Out

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has withdrawn his nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services.

He did so in light of revelations last weekend that he failed to pay approximately $140,000 in back taxes mostly on his limousine and his chauffeur. Some thought he might skate through given his standing amongst Democratic Senators and the fact that Timothy Geithner was confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury (even by Republicans) despite the fact that he didn't pay $40,000 in back taxes.

But the writing was on the wall when Nancy Killefer withdrew her nomination this morning as Chief Performance Officer when it came to light a tax lien of $900 was levied against her for failing to pay state unemployment tax for household help. If Killefer had to withdraw because of a $900 then no way does Daschle get confirmed with a six figure tax debt.

Daschle has also bowed out as Obama's health czar. It will be interesting to what Obama does here. I suspect that instead of having one person be both Secretary of HHS and health czar he will appoint two people for those roles.

I cannot help but think this speaks to Obama's judgement or lack thereof. If you throw Bill Richardson into the mix there are three Obama cabinet appointees who have had to withdraw their nominations. OK, Eric Holder got confirmed as AG last night but there's the Marc Rich pardon not to mention Geithner. If half of this happened under Bush we would never hear the end of it. The only Bush cabinet appointee who had to withdraw was Linda Chavez (many would say under rather unfair circumstances.) And lest we forget Joe Biden. Obama might have to send his suit of teflon to the dry cleaners.

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