Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Holder In As 1st Black Attorney General

Posted by Stephanie Lambidakis

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Eric H. Holder was sworn-in Tuesday as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States. He is the first African-American to lead the Justice Department, and surely the first A.G. to be treated as a bona fide rock star.

When Holder arrived at the department for the ceremony, a throng of Justice Department employees greeted him with thunderous applause, many snapping away with cell phone cameras to capture the moment. He sprinted up five flights of stairs where an even larger crowd erupted into cheers when Holder said, “it is so good to be home.” Holder served as Acting Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General and United States Attorney in the Clinton administration.
Tom Daschle Withdraws

Additional reporting by Sam Stein and Rachel Weiner

WASHINGTON -- Tom Daschle withdrew Tuesday as President Barack Obama's nominee to be health and human services secretary, dealing potential blows to both speedy health care reform and Obama's hopes for a smooth start in the White House.

"Now we must move forward," Obama said in a written statement accepting "with sadness and regret" Daschle's request to be removed from consideration. A day earlier, Obama had said he "absolutely" stood by Daschle in the face of problems over back taxes and potential conflicts of interest.

Moments after the news was announced, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News said she had just spoken to Daschle, who told her, "I read the New York Times this morning and I realized that I can't pass health care if I am too much of a distraction ... I called the president this morning." Mitchell described the call as emotional, and said Daschle was near tears.