President Obama has now released a statement on former Sen. Tom Daschle's decision to withdraw his nomination to be secretary of Health and Human Services. Not surprisingly, considering Daschle's status as a sort of mentor to Obama, not to mention a key figure in his rapid rise to the presidency, the president had almost nothing but good things to say about the former Senate majority leader.
The full statement:
This morning, Tom Daschle asked me to withdraw his nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services. I accept his decision with sadness and regret.
Tom Daschle has devoted his life to public service and health care reform, so that every American has access to health care they can afford. I had hoped that he could bring this passion and expertise to bear to finally achieve that goal, which is so essential to the progress of our economy and the well-being of businesses and families across our nation.
Tom made a mistake, which he has openly acknowledged. He has not excused it, nor do I.
But that mistake, and this decision, cannot diminish the many contributions Tom has made to this country, from his years in the military to his decades of public service.
Now we must move forward, with our plan to lift this economy and put people back to work.
Daschle has also released a statement of his own. "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," Daschle said. "Right now, I am not that leader, and will not be a distraction."