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Tom Daschle, slammed for not paying taxes, withdraws nomination

February 3, 2009 | 10:12 am

Barack Obama with former Democrat Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle

In a major blow to the Obama administration, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has withdrawn his nomination to be secretary of Health and Human Services. The president accepted his decision "with sadness and regret."

We have a video report below.

Daschle, who was under pressure from critics on Capitol Hill who assailed him for failing to pay $146,000 in back taxes for items including a limousine and driver, said that he did not want to be a distraction for President Obama.

But with South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint calling for him to withdraw, Daschle -- one of the president's earliest supporters -- told supporters he could felt the damage to his reputation would also hurt his influence in winning passage of major healthcare reform, a key Obama plank.

And it likely did not help his case that another Obama appointee, Nancy Killefer, withdrew her nomination today for a far smaller amount of nanny taxes, totaling less than $1,000.

-- Johanna Neuman

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Photo: Associated Press

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