On his way into a closed-door meeting of the Senate Finance Committee to question Health and Human Services Secretary-nominee Tom Daschle about irregularities in his taxes, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) offered a forceful endorsement of the Cabinet pick.

"Oh, I strongly support him. Tom Daschle is as honest and decent and honorable as any human being I've ever known," Conrad said of Daschle, the former Senate majority leader.

Here's the full quotation:

Oh, I strongly support him. Tom Daschle is as honest and decent and honorable as any human being I've ever known. So I think, as people read the investigative report, what they will find is that there are very clear explantions for how this occurred. The charitable contributions he made, he mad through fols who helped at-risk kids at an Indian reservation. Unfortunately, they didn't have the right documentation. That's not his fault. The company made the mistake on his 1099; they've acknowledged that they made a mistake. And on the car, the only reason we know about it is 'cause of the honesty of Tom Daschle. He's the one that raised this. And I think many people would be surprised that (if) somebody loans you a car, that becomes a taxable event. So I think Tom Daschle is going to be just fine.


- Jeffrey Young