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Tom Daschle

U.S. Senator

Born: 9 December 1947
Birthplace: Aberdeen, South Dakota
Best known as: U.S. Senate majority leader 2001-2003
A longtime U.S. senator from South Dakota, Tom Daschle was Senate majority leader from 2001 in 2004. He graduated from South Dakota State University in 1969, spent three years as an intelligence officer in the Air Force, then joined the staff of South Dakota Senator James Abourezk. Daschle, a Democrat, was elected to the first of four terms in the House of Representatives in 1978; he joined the Senate after defeating incumbent James Abdnor in 1986. Daschle became a protege of Senator George Mitchell (D-Maine); after the major Republican victories in the election of 1994 Daschle succeeded Mitchell as Democratic leader. He earned a reputation as a patient but persistent leader during the years when Democrat Bill Clinton was president but Congress was controlled by the Republican party. Daschle served as minority leader until 2001, when Vermont senator James Jeffords left the GOP to become an independent, thereby giving control of the Senate to the Democrats. Daschle officially replaced Trent Lott (R-Miss.) as Senate majority leader on June 6, 2001. When Republicans took control of the Senate after the elections of 2002, Daschle returned to the role of minority leader. He was defeated by a Republican challenger, John Thune, in the elections of 2004. President Barack Obama nominated Daschle to be Secretary of Health and Human Services in 2008. He withdrew his name on 3 February 2009 after revealing that he had owed over $128,000 in back taxes which he hadn't paid until the time of his nomination.
Extra credit: Daschle is 5'8" tall... His name is pronounced DASH-l.

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