Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Obama Says He Messed Up on Daschle But Not Vetting Process

I've just written an article about how vetting has disappeared from the American political lexicon since Obama's election. We heard all about vetting where it concerned Sarah Palin and for that matter Joe the Plumber. Given that three of Obama's cabinet nominees have withdrawn their nomination only a fortnight into the new era of responsibility one has to wonder about Obama's vetting process.

No sooner than I finish the article than I read about Obama's mea culpa. In an interview with Katie Couric, Obama said:

Well, I, you know, don't think there's something wrong with the vetting process....let's just take Tom (Daschle) as an example. I made a judgment that he was the best person possible for the job....I think I messed up. I screwed up in not recognizing in perception that even though this is an honest mistake, I believe, on Tom's part, that, you know, ordinary people are out there paying taxes whether it's an intentional mistake or not, it was sending the wrong signal. (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/02/03/eveningnews/main4773752.shtml)

So let me get this straight. Obama messed up on Daschle but not on Richardson, Killefer and Geithner? Senate confirmation or not, Geithner not paying $35,000 in self employment taxes as he is about to take over the IRS doesn't send the wrong signal? There's a pattern here of his nominees being involved in financial improprieties. Obama is definitely missing something here. If Obama doesn't think there's something wrong with his vetting process then his judgment is truly impaired.

However, the fact that he actually said he "messed up" and "screwed up" will go a long way with voters. Admitting mistakes will be seen as an act of good faith and honesty. It will be harder for Republicans to argue he didn't live up to his era of responsibility. Of course, it is something he doesn't want to get into the habit of doing. But given how things have gone so far it might not be the last time.

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