Tom Daschle Tapped for Health, Human Services

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WASHINGTON - Democratic officials say former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has accepted President-elect Barack Obama's offer to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Democratic officials on Capitol Hill and close to the transition also confirm the selection to CBS News.

The appointment has not been announced, but these officials say the job is Daschle's barring an unforeseen problem as Mr. Obama's team reviews the background of the South Dakota Democrat. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorize to discuss the matter publicly.

One area of review will include the lobbying connections of his wife, Linda Hall Daschle, who has done representation mostly on behalf of airline-related companies over the years. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorize to discuss the matter publicly.

Daschle, a close adviser to Mr. Obama throughout his White House campaign, recently wrote a book on his proposals to improve health care, and he is working with former Senate leaders on recommendations to improve the system.

"Daschle was an early and prominent supporter of the president-elect and is very likely to play a role in his administration," said senior political editor Vaughn Ververs. "As someone deeply familiar with the inner workings of Congress, Daschle could be very effective in helping shepherd through health care reform, one of the incoming president’s priorities."

"Sen. Daschle has a deep commitment to securing high-quality, affordable health care for everyone in our nation," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. "His new leadership position confirms that the incoming Obama administration has made health care reform a top and early priority for action in 2009."

After losing re-election to the Senate in 2004, Daschle became a public policy adviser and member of the legislative and public policy group at the law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird. Daschle isn't registered as a lobbyist. He advises clients on issues including health care, financial services and taxes and trade, according to the firm Web site.