Feature

Tom Daschle's withdrawal

The good news and bad news for Obama as tax troubles force out his health and human services nominee

Tom Daschle is out of the picture, said Matthew Cooper in Talking Points Memo. The former Senate Democratic leader withdrew his name from consideration to become President Obama's secretary of Health and Human Services, saying he didn't want his income-tax troubles to be "a distraction." It was nice of Daschle to spare Obama the embarrassment of having to fire him—now let's see who gets caught in the "tax buzz-saw" next.

Obama said he accepted Daschle's withdrawal with "sadness and regret," said conservative commentator Michelle Malkin in her blog. I'll bet. "Regret that Daschle's serial tax evasions caught up to him," and sadness that the Senate didn't go easy on Daschle the way it did on Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who also was a little light when he paid the IRS.

This is good news and bad news for Obama, said Steve Benen in The Washington Monthly. The good news is that, after all the "distracting and embarrassing" coverage of Daschle, Obama's decision to cut him loose distances him "from the kind of political 'business as usual' he's always opposed." But it's bad news because the U.S. "really needs to tackle health-care reform," and Daschle was well-positioned to make some headway.

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