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Obama Picks Tom Daschle For HHS Secretary

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Before the election, there was some speculation that former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle might become Barack Obama’s Chief of Staff, instead he appears to be headed to the Department of Health and Human Services:

CHICAGO (CNN) — Three sources close to the transition and in a position to know tell CNN that former Sen. Tom Daschle is President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to be Secretary of Health and Human Services and the former Senate Majority Leader has indicated he wants the job.

Most significantly, Daschle negotiated that he will also serve as the White House health “czar” — or point person — so that he will report directly to the incoming President. The significance is this guarantees that by wearing two hats Daschle, and not White House staffers, will be writing the health care plan that Obama submits to Congress next year.

The sources said the precise timing of the announcement has not been worked out, but Daschle is likely to officially join the Obama transition team as the lead adviser on health issues in the next few weeks. An Obama transition official had no comment.

Given Daschle’s years in the Senate, he would seem to be the logical choice to lead a health care initiative through Congress.