As Hearings Begin, Daschle Wary of Clinton Miscues

Obama health chief to push early, at grassroots, with congressional input
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Jan 8, 2009 10:39 AM CST
In this photo from Dec. 11, 2008, President-elect Barack Obama, right, stands with Health and Human Services Secretary-designate, former Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Tom Daschle, Barack Obama’s health-care honcho, saw the 1993 Clinton-care debacle up close; his strategy for passing reform this time around is basically Anything But Clinton, reports Politico. The Clinton push, Daschle thinks, came too far into the first term, and was too exclusive, presenting Congress a completed proposal without seeking input or pushing for it at the grassroots level.

Daschle is hoping to get a bill moving by March. Some in Congress don’t share his optimism. Says a Senate Republican aide, “We will be fortunate if we get something for a vote by the August recess.” The administration may have a secret weapon, though: likely surgeon general Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s current medical expert, as top salesman for the plan.