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Obama names Daschle to lead health drive

world Updated: Nov 20, 2008 15:05 IST
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Barack Obama picked former Senate leader Tom Daschle to lead his high-risk drive to end the US healthcare crisis and stocked his White House staff with loyal campaign aides.

The president-elect, who takes office in January, spent the day hunkered down in his Chicago transition office, but a Democratic official said he asked ex-South Dakota senator Daschle to be health and human services secretary.

Daschle, 60, will be charged with the task of shepherding healthcare reform legislation through Congress in line with Obama's campaign vow to revamp the US medical system and help 45 million Americans who have no health insurance.

The last major healthcare reform attempt by a Democratic president, piloted by Hillary Clinton during her husband Bill Clinton's administration, ended in a notorious failure.

More than a decade on, there was no indication Wednesday on whether the former first lady would accept Obama's overtures about the job of secretary of state.

The Wall Street Journal reported former president Clinton had removed a barrier to the appointment by offering to submit his future charitable and business dealings to an ethics review if his wife becomes the top US diplomat.

Some analysts have questioned whether Bill Clinton's myriad business deals, donor lists and contacts with foreign governments could raise conflicts of interest if his wife becomes the face of US foreign policy.

More than two weeks after Obama's historic election victory, there was a morsel of comfort for his defeated rival John McCain, after the final vote totals finally nudged Missouri into the Republican's column.