WASHINGTON--The Obama White House, elected to office on an anti-lobbyist, anti-business as usual campaign, was forced Tuesday to dump former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle as Health and Human Services nominee--and overall health czar--after his income tax problems became a major distraction.
"I accept his decision with regret," Obama said in a statement. Daschle had several tax issues that derailed his nomination--including not reporting as income a car and driver provided by a friend--as well as disclosures after nomination of big earnings from the very health care companies he will be dealing with as part of the Obama administration. Not a formal lobbyist, Daschle leverged his government cache to each at least $5 million in four years.
Daschle, an early supporter of Obama, said in a statement he was withdrawing in order to "not be a distraction."
Said Obama, "Tom made a mistake which he has openly acknowledged. He has not excused it, nor do I."
LINGERING QUESTION: How did this escape the political and legal Obama vetting teams?