Why John McCain Doubts Obama’s Pick for Defense Secretary Will Have Clout

President Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense will need to penetrate the White House’s tight inner circle of national security and foreign policy advisers to influence the president’s decision-making, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said yesterday.

In an interview with The Daily Signal within hours of Ashton Carter’s nomination, McCain said he isn’t convinced the veteran Pentagon hand and former deputy secretary can make such inroads despite the early support of Republicans and Democrats alike.

Obama nominated Carter as successor to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who lost the confidence of the president before announcing last month that he would step down just shy of two years in the post. Hagel is the third defense secretary in Obama’s six years in office.

If confirmed by the Senate, Carter will take over at the Pentagon as the United States presses the war against ISIS, the brutal terrorist organization also known as the Islamic State. Although Obama staunchly opposes more American boots on the ground in Iraq, there will be, McCain said, drawing a comparison to Vietnam War-era Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.

The Arizona Republican, interviewed by The Daily Signal after speaking about the Jones Act at The Heritage Foundation, is slated to become chairman of the Armed Services Committee when the GOP takes over the Senate in January.  He will preside over Carter’s confirmation hearing.

Commentary: Last Man Standing: Don’t Expect Ashton Carter to Rock the Boat

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