I have just informed the president that I am withdrawing my name from consideration for secretary of health and human services.
To be chosen by President Obama to run the Department of Health and Human Services and to lead the reform of America's health care system is one of the signal honors of an improbable career.
But if 30 years of exposure to the challenges inherent in our system has taught me anything, it has taught me that this work will require a leader who can operate with the full faith of Congress and the American people, and without distraction.
Right now, I am not that leader, and will not be a distraction. The focus of Congress should be on the urgent business of moving the president's economic agenda forward, including affordable health care for every American.
We need the best care in America to be available to all Americans. We need this effort to succeed. Lives and livelihoods are at stake.
I will not be the architect of America's health system reform, but I remain one of its most fervent supports. Thank you.