In his new book "Like No Other Time, " Tom Daschle says he grew
up shy in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He graduated from South Dakota
State University in 1969, then served three years in the Air Force
studying satellite surveillance photos.
Daschle came to Washington as an aide to Sen. James Abourezk, a
position he held for five years. Sen. Daschle was elected to the US
House in 1978 with an 110 -vote margin. He won a seat in the Senate
in 1986 - becoming the 1,776th senator in US history. He was elected
Senate Democratic leader in 1994.
Here are excerpts from his remarks:
On whether Congress will have to revise Medicare legislation
again next year:
"I guarantee we are going to be back within 12 months doing
something. I don't think that the current plan --even though it does
not largely kick in until 2006 -- is sustainable politically. My own
experience in South Dakota and around the country bears this out.
...Keep in mind they are going to be spending $4,000 [in
premiums] for $5,000 in benefits. They are going to be paying a
premium during a coverage gap that lasts $2,800. They are still
going to be paying a premium while they get absolutely no benefit
from the program. Figure that out. When that happens I just can't
imagine Congress can sustain the political pressure they will be
under not to change it."
On why experts say the government budget process is out of
"The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) called the current budget
trends unsustainable if you will recall just a couple of months ago
and I think that is a proper characterization...
What has happened? Well, two things. Republicans gained control
of the White House and the Congress and secondly they have passed an
irresponsible fiscal policy starting with tax cuts and now loaded
with giveaways. Every single bill that passes is loaded with payouts
to the special interests. We saw that with the energy bill, we have
seen it now with the Medicare bill, we are seeing it with the
omnibus (spending) legislation. You name it, there are huge handouts
for a lot of the special interests."
On the Bush administration's handling of war in Iraq:
"There is no plan. It is really remarkable. We are mired there.
Even the Secretary of Defense a month ago, if you will recall,
complained bitterly about the lack of planning, the lack of a
yardstick by which to measure success, the lack of progress. …