Daschle maintains the efforts to bring about universal health coverage in the first two years of the Clinton presidency took too long. In a book published this year, he urged the next president to act immediately to capitalize on the good will that greets any incoming administration. His speech and recent behind-the-scenes meetings with lawmakers and consumer groups address that point.
"We need to be on the offense," Daschle said.
He cited other lessons, too. This time around, lawmakers cannot try to address every detail when it comes to legislation.
"Details kill," Daschle said. "If we get too far into the weeds, if we produce a 1,500- or 1,600-page bill, we're going to get hung up on all the details and we're never going to get to the principles."