According to a senior adviser at the White House, possible new nominees are being considered for the position of health secretary following the pull out of former Senator Tom Daschle over a tax controversy.
"We'll see. There are a lot of qualified people. We want to do a thorough job of reviewing the possibilities and then we'll make a decision," top Obama aide David Axelrod told reporters asking when Obama would unveil a new pick.
AdvertisementAxelrod said Daschle had made the choice to withdraw his name in order to avoid delays in moving forward on Obama's ambitious health care agenda and had notified the White House by telephone early on Tuesday.
"Senator Daschle is one of the foremost experts and advocates on health care reform in the country. That's why the president appointed him. He will be missed," Axelrod said during a visit to the US capitol.
"But the issue is as important today to our economic recovery, and the families and businesses across the country, as it was yesterday -- and we will move forward and someone else will have to carry the flag and lead that effort, and I'm sure we'll find a strong replacement," he said.
In a bid to salvage his embattled nomination, Daschle had apologized Monday for what he described as mistakes that led him to pay about 128,000 dollars in back taxes plus some 12,000 in interest.
But he later decided to withdraw from consideration, and Obama did not ask him to stay on "because senator Daschle expressed a strong opinion on this and wanted to withdraw his name, and I think the president felt he needed to accept it," said Axelrod.
"His reasoning was reflected in his statement: He didn't want to be a distraction, he knew that this process was going to go on, I think he felt deeply embarrassed, as he said, about the mistake that he made," he said.
"But mostly, I think he was motivated by a concern about moving the country forward, we've got enormously important business here, in terms of our economic recovery package, health care reform, that needs to move forward and he simply didn't want to, as he said, be a distraction."
"So he called this morning and informed us that he was going to withdraw his name," said Axelrod.