Confirmed: Daschle gets HHS job

Tom Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader -- and an early Obama supporter -- will be nominated to be Health and Human Services secretary.

By Mike Madden

Published November 19, 2008 5:47PM (EST)

Two senior Democratic officials have confirmed to Salon that Tom Daschle has been offered -- and accepted -- the job of secretary of Health and Human Services.

Daschle was one of Barack Obama's earliest powerful supporters and a valued advisor during the campaign. (Some of the first strategy sessions that mapped out Obama's run for office took place in Daschle's downtown Washington office, or in a nearby Italian restaurant he likes.) Many of Obama's senior aides worked for Daschle before he lost his 2004 reelection race in South Dakota.

Daschle has long been interested in health care issues, and was named earlier today to run the Obama transition team's policy working group on the subject. With another former Senate majority leader, Republican Bill Frist, Daschle co-chaired the ONE Campaign's effort to make health care an issue during the 2008 elections.

Getting him confirmed by the Senate should be one of the easiest tasks for Obama's administration early next year -- Daschle is still beloved by his former Democratic colleagues. The South Dakotan did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the job.

Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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