Tom Daschle Running for President?

Former Senate Minority and Majority Leader Tom Daschle, defeated for re-election in 2004, is reportedly exploring a run for the White House in 2008.

Daschle Re-Enters Political Arena (AP)

Former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle’s interest in public office isn’t necessarily latent: he has set up a new political action committee and plans a Jefferson-Jackson Day speech in the politically pivotal state of Iowa. Daschle, who was considered a possible candidate for president in 2004, has quietly eschewed most publicity since his defeat to Republican John Thune last November. But Steve Hildebrand, director of the new committee and Daschle’s former campaign manager, said the well-known Democrat from South Dakota “is not going to rule out opportunities to play important roles in public service.” “It could be president, it could be vice president, it could be something else,” Hildebrand said. “It could be nothing.”

Nothing would seem the most likely of those. I can’t imagine Daschle even carrying South Dakota, let alone beating out Hillary Clinton and others for the nomination. And the rationale for putting a defeated has-been with bad hair and three electoral votes in the second spot eludes me.

Daschle has transferred $500,000 into the new committee, New Leadership for America PAC. Hildebrand says the committee will give money to endangered incumbents, support younger candidates looking to run for office and “provide a forum for him to continue to speak out on issues that are important.”


In July, Daschle said he was not planning a rematch against Thune in 2010. He made the statement in a letter to the Federal Election Commission, which had asked him to clarify his candidate status. Since Daschle’s candidate fundraising committee had spent more than $5,000, he officially qualified as a candidate.

Given the lucrative nature of the lobbying game for someone with Daschle’s Rolodex, it’s difficult to imagine him re-entering elective politics.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. john cooke says:

    Hey Tom: Hang it up, your a loser and you should know it. Of course if you want to piss away all the money the poor people sent for your reelection, thats ok! As usual you politicians know how to get rid of our money instead of returning it. Thanks a lot, just goes to show what a true human being you are, never again will I give money to you scum!

    john cooke
    glendale, mo

  2. Don says:

    >And the rationale for putting a defeated has->been with bad hair and three electoral votes in >the second spot eludes me.

    Worked for W.

  3. Moe Lane says:

    “Worked for W.”

    What on earth are you talking about? From what I can tell, Cheney went right from the House to a Cabinet post: Wyoming was and is a safe GOP state, VP or no; and ‘bad hair’… OK, if Daschle’s hair qualifies as ‘bad’, I guess that so does Cheney’s.

    Still. Reflexive, much?

  4. Moe Lane says:

    And before anyone asks, this is what I’d personally consider to be ‘bad hair’. You look at it too long and you’ll swear that it moves.

  5. McGehee says:

    “It could be president, it could be vice president, it could be something else,” Hildebrand said. “It could be nothing.”

    My votwe would be “D” — nothing.

  6. Enlightened D says:

    Dear John Cooke: For future reference, please recall the tip from Ross on Friends that y-o-u apostrophe r-e means “you are;” y-o-u-r means “your.”

    Secondly, Tom Daschle is one of the best statesmen this country has ever seen. He can work together but can also stand up for what he and his party believe in. And that, my friends, is what the Democratic Party needs. Also realize that he was running against Thune in a very high-profile presidential election year and only lost by a small margin. (And by the way, just because he moved to Washington that doesn’t mean he forgot about South Dakota. In fact, I believe I was noticing that he talked an awful lot about the state and still seems interested in the state’s issues, particularly those related to the reservations there. Also realize that he was leading the party in the most exclusive club in the country and therefore had two very important, distinct tasks to balance. I think he did a rather magnificent job myself.)

    Last, he has incredible name ID and power within the party. Democrats love him, and he is a wee bit (and by that, I mean A TON) smarter than Bill Owens, who is one of the potential Republican choices. Just a thought.