He said he’s withdrawing because he’s not a leader who has the full faith of Congress and will be a distraction.
UPDATE: Rumor coming from some inside news circles is that today’s NYT editorial had something to do with Daschle’s decision:
Mr. Daschle is another in a long line of politicians who move cozily between government and industry. We don’t know that his industry ties would influence his judgments on health issues, but they could potentially throw a cloud over health care reform. Mr. Daschle could clear the atmosphere by withdrawing his name.
I’d be disinclined to give any write such credit, but hey, you never know.
UPDATE: I stand corrected. According to HuffPo:
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.