defense secretary nominee undergoes back surgery
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[December 13, 2014]
By Will Dunham
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ashton Carter,
President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Chuck Hagel as U.S. defense
secretary, has undergone a long-planned surgical procedure on his back
ahead of his confirmation process in the Senate, the White House said on
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement that the
procedure was successful but did not give details about the
"Mr. Carter decided to go ahead with the previously scheduled
procedure so that he could complete it before beginning his
confirmation process," Earnest added.
"Mr. Carter is resting comfortably with his family and is looking
forward to (the) confirmation process and if confirmed, to serving
with the men and women of the Defense Department," Earnest said.
Obama formally nominated Carter, 60, for the Pentagon post on Dec.
5, choosing him for a job that will entail tackling messy wars in
the Middle East and Afghanistan and trying to fend off potentially
damaging budget cuts.
If confirmed by the Senate, he would become the fourth defense
secretary to serve under Obama. The confirmation process is expected
to begin early next year.
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Hagel, who resigned under pressure on Nov. 24, had privately
expressed frustration with the Obama administration's strategy on
Iraq and Syria and with his lack of influence over the policy, which
was driven by the White House.
(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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