(CNN) — Former Sen. Tom Daschle has withdrawn his nomination to head the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a statement Tuesday from the White House.
Daschle had been fighting to save his nomination as HHS secretary following controversy over his tax records and questions over his work in a field that some consider lobbying.
In a statement announcing his withdrawal, Daschle said it was an honor to be chosen to lead the reform of America’s health care system.
“But if 30 years of exposure to the challenges inherent in our system has taught me anything, it has taught me that this work will require a leader who can operate with the full faith of Congress and the American people, and without distraction,” he said.
“Right now, I am not that leader, and will not be a distraction. The focus of Congress should be on the urgent business of moving the President’s economic agenda forward, including affordable health care for every American.”
The Obama administration had stood by his side, and fellow Democrats lined up behind him, but Daschle’s problems, coupled with other nominees’ issues, gave critics ammunition to question President Obama’s call for a “new era of responsibility.”
The president said Tuesday he accepts Daschle’s decision “with sadness and regret.”
And so, it looks like Barack Obama has fallen victim to the same problems that Bill Clinton had when it came to cabinet nominees.
I’m guessing this isn’t the type of beginning Obama was hoping for.