Bipartisan Policy Center, Democratic Policy Committee, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Finance Committee, Humor, Majority Leader, U.S. Representatives, U.S. Senate culture, U.S. Senators
Thomas Andrew Daschle was born on December 9, 1947, in Aberdeen, South Dakota, to Elizabeth B. Meier and Sebastian C. Daschle. He attended South Dakota State University, being graduated with a degree in political science in 1969. After college he served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force. He started in politics as a staff member to South Dakota Senator James Abourezk. In 1978, Daschle was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served for four terms there. In 1986, he ran for the U.S. Senate and won, serving until he lost the seat in the fall 2004 elections; he succeeded George Mitchell as Senate majority leader in the Senate in 1995. He served as a key advisor to Barack Obama in his presidential campaign of 2008 and was nominated to be the secretary of health and human services; his nomination proved controversial, and he withdrew his name from consideration. He has been heavily involved in working for health care reform. At the time of this interview, he served as a policy advisor at the firm Alston & Bird and was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.
Interview includes discussion of: becoming acquainted with Mitchell; making the move to the Senate from the House; Mitchell’s role as chairman of the 1986 Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; the Senate class of 1986; the Democratic trend in the 1986 elections; working in the Senate compared to working in the House; the similarities between Daschle and Mitchell and the foundation of their friendship; Daschle’s role as co-chair of the Policy Committee; the Policy Committee’s functions and Mitchell’s role in expanding its responsibilities; Mitchell’s interest in baseball; Daschle’s campaign and election to majority leader; the procedure of the Senate leader election; Mitchell’s advice to Daschle as his successor as majority leader and his help in making the transition; Daschle’s surprise at Mitchell’s retirement decision; the 1994 elections; the check scandal that involved the House bank; Byrd’s decision to move from majority leader to chair of the Appropriations Committee; how Mitchell ought to be remembered; the Bipartisan Policy Center; thoughts on how Mitchell would have been as a presidential candidate; and Mitchell’s and Daschle’s mutual interest in hearing and telling funny stories.
This recording and transcription are © 2011 Bowdoin College and are presented for private study, scholarship, or research only. For all other uses, including publication, reproduction, and quotation beyond “fair use” (Title 17, United States Code) permission must be obtained in writing from the George J. Mitchell Dept. of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421, USA.