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Tom Daschle Prepares for His Next Job

These days Tom Daschle drives his own car to work.
Ketzel Levine, NPR
These days Tom Daschle drives his own car to work.

Tom Daschle says he's genuinely undecided about the details of his next job. But the former leader of Senate Democrats has ruled out two lifelong dreams: farmer and commercial pilot. Take Two, our series on people reinventing themselves through their work, continues as NPR's Ketzel Levine profiles a politician who is now unemployed.

After 26 years on Capitol Hill, Tom Daschle's biggest career challenge will be finding work that remotely compares with his last job. During his Senate tenure, Daschle's opinion counted on issues ranging from international crises, terror attacks, and the impeachment of a president.

Although Daschle keeps in touch with the world through his home office and a Blackberry, he says the best advice he's received is to be circumspect in pressing for change, "not to just ratchet up the intensity level… before you really know what you want to do." Still, the soft-spoken South Dakotan admits that this transition period is a test of his character.

He says losing his bid for re-election hasn't changed his wide-ranging goals. "I want to be involved in non-profits," Daschle says. "I want to be involved in education, I want to be involved in business… I want to keep as busy as I was before, and I'm absolutely convinced I can do that."

Daschle says the question now is, "Can I come back and do the kinds of things I want to do? And I'm going to prove that I can."

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Ketzel Levine
NPR Senior Correspondent Ketzel Levine reports for Morning Edition.