White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tom Daschle made the decision on his own to drop out of consideration for Health and Human Services secretary.
There was no signal to Daschle from the White House,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs added that Daschle also withdrew his name as leader of the new White House health care policy office.
Daschle’s decision caused waves on the Hill, where Daschle, the former Senate majority leader, remains in high regard. The Senate Finance Committee votes on the confirmation of the HHS secretary, but the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing in January because of the committee’s interests in HHS.
The hearing was nothing short of a lovefest, where senators lauded their former leader and called him “brilliant” and “the best man for the job.”
Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., spoke of the need for the new HHS secretary to inspire and bring new leadership to the civil service.
Looks like they’ll be waiting a little longer for that.