Daschle Withdraws Nomination for HHS

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CBNNews.com - Former Senator Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination to be secretary of Health and Human Services, Tuesday, after problems with back taxes weakened his chance for confirmation.

By Tuesday morning, Daschle faced mounting calls for his withdrawal over failing to pay more than $120,000 in taxes. 

The former Senate Democratic leader said he would have not been able to operate "with the full faith of Congress and the American people."

Click play for more analysis with CBN News White House Correspondent David Brody.

"I am not that leader, and will not be a distraction," he said.

In a written statement, President Barack Obama said he accepted the withdrawal "with sadness and regret."

"Now we must move forward," Obama said.

"Tom made a mistake, which he has openly acknowledged," Obama said. "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."

Pressure to Step Down

Daschle's stunning withdrawal comes after Republican leaders and several major newspapers questioned Obama's decision to stand by his choice for the post. 

Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina said Obama was "losing credibility" by publicly supporting Daschle.

"Part of leadership is recognizing when there has been a mistake made and responding quickly," DeMint said.

The New York Times on Tuesday also decried Daschle's cozy relationship between "government and industry," saying his insider status called into question his ability to reform the health care system.

The Chicago Tribune also suggested that "to proclaim high standards and then suspend them exposes Obama to charges that he is either hypocritical or obtuse."

Last month, Daschle paid $128,203 in back taxes and $11,964 in interest.  He also faced questions about speaking fees he accepted from health care interests.

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