Pressure on Daschle reaches tipping point(CNN) -- The White House insists that it was entirely former Sen. Tom Daschle's decision to withdraw his nomination, but some observers say he didn't have a choice. Despite the controversy over his tax records and his work in a field that some consider lobbying, Daschle was expected to be confirmed. His withdrawal shocked Capitol Hill, and Democratic colleagues expressed regret over his decision. "I think one of the major factors had to be that the political climate has changed radically just in the last couple of weeks," CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry said. President Obama ripped Wall Street executives last week for their "shameful" decision to hand out $18 billion in bonuses in 2008 while accepting federal bailout money.The next day, news broke that Daschle hadn't paid his taxes in full. Daschle said Monday that he was "deeply embarrassed" for a series of errors that included failing to report $15,000 in charitable donations, unreported car service and more than $80,000 in unreported income from consulting. Daschle recently filed amended tax returns and paid more than $140,000 in back taxes and interest for 2005-07. "That, in this political climate, really tripped up Tom Daschle because it looked awful politically for this White House," Henry said. At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, press secretary Robert Gibbs insisted that the White House did not pressure Daschle to step down. Pressed on whether Daschle was given any sort of signal to resign, Gibbs said, "I don't know how much more clear I could be. The decision was Sen. Daschle's."A Daschle ally familiar with his thinking said Tuesday that he was not aware of any White House pressure on the former Senate majority leader to withdraw his nomination. Asked whether Daschle was pushed, the source said, "things don't work that cleanly." The issue was not whether Daschle could "survive"; it was what that process "would do to Obama" and his health care reform and economic agenda. It's a question of the "price of that confirmation," he said. The source said Daschle read the Tuesday New York Times editorial urging him to withdraw from consideration but would not say whether that might have played a part in his decision. "Tom has been a politician for a very long time," the source said. "He understands this town. He made a mistake; he apologized, but timing matters. There was a critical mass building." Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said he thought Daschle made the decision Tuesday morning."I have to believe that Sen. Daschle having spent as many years as he has up here had a clear picture that there was going to be a delay, and I think he didn't want to contribute to that. In announcing his withdrawal, Daschle said it was an honor to be chosen to lead the reform of America's health care system. "But if 30 years of exposure to the challenges inherent in our system has taught me anything, it has taught me that this work will require a leader who can operate with the full faith of Congress and the American people, and without distraction," he said in a statement. "Right now, I am not that leader and will not be a distraction. Mark Preston, CNN's political editor, pointed out that Daschle has a "history of making 11th-hour decisions." Six years ago, Daschle made a last-minute decision not to run for president after he had been all set to go. "I think that the Tom Daschle we saw yesterday was all set to go, and then the pressure started mounting ... and then he decided to pull out," Preston said.Although he was expected to be confirmed, it was also expected that he'd have to undergo a bruising confirmation hearing that could have led to negative headlines for Obama. As news broke of the withdrawal, some senators said they were sad to see Daschle step aside, but others said it was the right thing to do. "I'm in shock. I didn't know that. I don't know what happened," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California. "I talked to him ... the night before last, and he showed no signs of withdrawing." Feinstein praised Daschle as rare person who could get something like health care through the Senate and said she wishes he had not withdrawn. "I have great faith in him." Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Daschle "did a service to President Obama" by stepping aside. "I think it really would have looked bad for the Senate to close ranks around a fellow member and sort of reinforce the idea that they were going to protect a member as part of the good ol' boys club," he said.Daschle has a lengthy history with members of Congress. He represented South Dakota in the House of Representatives for four terms, and he served in the Senate for three terms. He was the Senate majority leader from June 2001 to January 2003 and served as the minority leader before losing his re-election bid in 2005. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nevada, said Daschle "saved the president from being embarrassed" by withdrawing. Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said he was "a little stunned" by Daschle's decision. "I thought he was going to get confirmed. I thought -- he's a good man, and I thought he'd be confirmed. I'm surprised," said Baucus, D-Montana. Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, insisted that Daschle had owned up to his mistakes. "He's made his decision, I respect his decision, and we go on from there," Kerry said. Daschle's resignation came hours after Nancy Killefer's withdrawal as Obama's chief performance officer, a new post in the administration. Officials said privately the reason for Killefer's withdrawal was unspecified tax issues. The much-touted post was designed to scrub the federal budget.http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/02/03/daschle.fallout/?iref=mpstoryview
[...] the decision to use that procedure rather than present an indictment to a grand jury suggests that Fitzgerald made a last-minute decision to have Blagojevich arrested, perhaps to forestall the governor appointing himself as a successor to Obama.
Quote from: unexceptionabl on December 11, 2008, 07:18:06 PM[...] the decision to use that procedure rather than present an indictment to a grand jury suggests that Fitzgerald made a last-minute decision to have Blagojevich arrested, perhaps to forestall the governor appointing himself as a successor to Obama.Not really! In any event, don't you think Quinn's calling on Burris to resign are self-serving? Gov. Patrick Quinn today called on U.S. Sen. Roland Burris to resign amid the furor of questions over his contacts with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Burris should "act as quickly as possible for the best interests of Illinois," Quinn said at a late morning news conference. "This should not be a matter that takes weeks." Quinn called on lawmakers to give him the power to appoint a temporary successor to the Senate until a special election could be held. Many Republican lawmakers argued Quinn has the constitutional authority to order a special election, which could have the effect of forcing Burris from office. But Quinn said today he doesn't feel he has the constitutional authority to order a special election. If Burris quits, Quinn said he would look for a temporarily replacement who has no interest in running in a special election for a longer term. Quinn, who said it was a mistake for Burris to take the appointment, has not spoken to the junior senator and fellow Democrat about resigning. "He will always be held in high regard by the people for making this decision," Quinn said about a potential resignation. "The common good is really what we have to focus on today." Quinn suggested Burris was "harming" the common good by remaining in office amid questions about various affidavits "correcting this and that" about his contact with Blagojevich allies. State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias also added his voice to the calls for Burris to step down. "Given the revelations during the past several days, the situation has become toxic and only serves as a sideshow during a time when lawmakers should be addressing the financial crisis that is impacting families across Illinois," Giannoulias said in a statement. "Senator Burris' statements have been misleading at best and make clear he was not upfront or forthright during his testimony before Illinois House Impeachment Committee," he added. "He violated the public's trust, which sorely needed restoring following the Governor's impeachment."-- Monique Garciahttp://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2009/02/quinn-asks-burris-to-quit-new-election-law.html
One economist who's not pleased with the way the bailout of Citigroup is structured is Nobel Prize winner, and Princeton economics professor, Paul Krugman. Krugman acknowledged that the bailout was necessary, but wrote on his blog that the structure of this bailout is an 'outrage':QuoteA bailout was necessary -- but this bailout is an outrage: a lousy deal for the taxpayers, no accountability for management, and just to make things perfect, quite possibly inadequate, so that Citi will be back for more.But is the government bailout of Citigroup well-structured, and are taxpayers getting a fair deal here? Krugman, author of "The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008" (Norton), says on first read, no. "Most of the people who have looked at it, the small hours of this morning, have said this is a lot of taxpayer risk in return for not much," Krugman told co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez. "It looks like a very sweet deal for Citigroup management, very sweet deal for Citigroup shareholders, to the extent they have anything left -- not very good for the taxpayer. This was not good." With other bailouts seemingly having done nothing to boost consumer confidence, Rodriguez asked, why do it if it is not well-structured? "Well, you know, things could be worse, you know? That's been the moral of this crisis: things can always be worse,' Krugman said, "and they have been getting worse."
A bailout was necessary -- but this bailout is an outrage: a lousy deal for the taxpayers, no accountability for management, and just to make things perfect, quite possibly inadequate, so that Citi will be back for more.
Citigroup Inc. is in talks with federal officials that could result in the U.S. government substantially expanding its ownership of the struggling bank, according to people familiar with the situation. While the discussions could fall apart, the government could wind up holding as much as 40% of Citigroup's common stock. Bank executives hope the stake will be closer to 25%, these people said. Any such move would give federal officials far greater influence over one of the world's largest financial institutions. Citigroup has proposed the plan to its regulators. The Obama administration hasn't indicated if it supports the plan, according to people with knowledge of the talks. When federal officials began pumping capital into U.S. banks last October, few experts would have predicted that the government would soon be wrestling with the possibility of taking voting control of large financial institutions. The potential move at Citigroup would give the government its biggest ownership of a financial-services company since the September bailout of insurer American International Group Inc., which left taxpayers with an 80% stake.The move wouldn't cost taxpayers additional money, but other Citigroup shareholders would see their stock diluted. A larger ownership stake by the government could fuel speculation that other troubled banks will line up for similar agreements. Bank of America Corp. said that it isn't discussing a larger ownership stake for the government. "There are no talks right now over that issue," said Bank of America spokesman Robert Stickler. "We see no reason to do that. We believe the goal of public policy should be to attract private capital into the bank, not to discourage it."As if the economy wasn't already fighting enough strong headwinds, the risk of capital shortfalls and outright failure of the nation's banks is rising. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the federal agency that backs bank deposits, last week reported the biggest jump in "problem institutions" it has seen since the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s. While the extent of the problem is still low by historic standards, it identified 76 banks as in trouble - a 52% increase from a year ago. FDIC Commissioner Sheila Bair among regulators set to testify Tuesday at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on the state of the banking industry. Experts say the 76 banks now under scrutiny are likely only a small part of the problems now looming over the banking sector.
They also hinted broadly that daughter Chelsea Clinton would be speaking Tuesday evening.