Daschle Out as Health Nominee Due to Tax Problems

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House says Tom Daschle's decision to
withdraw his nomination to be health and human services secretary
was his idea.

Presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs was repeatedly asked whether the White House sought Daschle's withdrawal. Gibbs said
that Daschle ``did not get a signal'' from the White House to step

In a written statement, President Barack Obama said he accepted Daschle's decision ``with sadness and regret.''

Daschle's statement came less than three hours after another Obama nominee also withdrew from consideration, and also over tax problems. Nancy Killefer was nominated by Obama to be the
government's first chief performance officer.

Gibbs says neither Daschle nor Killefer wanted to be a distraction or get in the way of Obama's agenda.

Gibbs also says Obama has confidence in both his vetting process and in the people who serve in the White House. Still, he adds ``the president takes responsibility'' for the nomination troubles.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)