It's hard to overstate what a big deal it is that Tom Daschle is now out of the Obama White House.

As I've written about, Daschle has been a sort of Wizard of Oz character in the Obama story. As he exited the Senate, many of his key staffers migrated into Obamaland. And as Obama ramped up his presidential campaign, Daschle provided key advice, and key players from the Daschle mafia came aboard to raise millions and direct policy.

Daschle was, according to one source, a candidate to become Obama's chief of staff. Instead he maneuvered himself to spearhead Obama's healthcare policy -- both as secretary of HHS and as Obama's in-White-House healthcare czar -- the only Obama appointee who would have had cabinet and super-cabinet status.

Daschle will, I'm sure, continue to play a key role as a sounding board for Obama. But he will not be the pillar of domestic policy Obama clearly envisioned:

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