Tom Daschle’s decision to withdraw his nomination as HHS Secretary over a failure to pay taxes no doubt raises further questions about the Obama administration’s vetting procedures. But the most important aspect of this story is how much of a blow it deals to President Obama’s push for health-care reform. As I noted yesterday, Daschle figured to play a prominent role in the effort, not just in terms of crafting a proposal, but in getting it through Congress. He was tapped because of his passion for health care and his vast legislative experience. It will be interesting to see who Obama chooses to replace Daschle, but either way, the administration will now have to completely rethink it’s health-care strategy.
UPDATE: “It really sets us back a step,” Sen. Dick Durbin said, according to the AP. “Because he was such a talent. I mean he understood Congress, serving in the House and Senate he certainly had the confidence of the president.”