Geithner stays

Geithner stays

Tim Geithner, now Treasury secretary, failed to pay $34,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes throughout three years. He paid the bill, apologized and characterized his incomplete payments as an innocent mistake. At that time, Obama stuck his neck out: “It is an innocent mistake. It is a mistake that’s commonly made for people who are working internationally or for international institutions. It has been corrected. He’s paid the penalties.”

Tom Daschle, tapped to lead the Department of Health and Human Services failed to pay about $140,000 in income taxes throughout three years. He filed an amended tax return, sent a check, apologized. Asked if he still stands by Daschle, Obama answered: “Absolutely“.

Daschle goes

Daschle goes

Now we know Geithner stayed, and Daschle withdrew his bid. Explaining Daschle’s withdrawal, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that Obama and Daschle “both recognized that you can’t set an example of responsibility but accept a different standard in who serves.” Different standard?!

To NBC’s Brian Williams, Obama said: “I’ve got to own up to my mistake. Ultimately, it’s important for this administration to send a message that there aren’t two sets of rules — you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes.”

Yet one was confirmed and the other was shamed out of an appointment…

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