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President Obama makes VA appointment amid White House chaos

Robert McDonald is no Kathleeen Sebellius
Robert McDonald is no Kathleeen Sebellius
Photo by Pool/Getty Images

In an announcement anxiously awaited by veterans and lawmakers alike, President Barack Obama has made his pick for a new secretary of Veterans Affairs on Monday. The announcement of Procter and Gamble executive Robert McDonald as his choice was one that carried additional pressure for the president.

Past White House appointments have ended in disastrous results, such as Kathleen Sebelius, the president’s choice to run Obamacare’s rollout and HHS. Management experience has become the operative words for selecting key personnel, not political ideology. With massive media scrutiny shining down on Obama’s attempts to avoid the chaotic VA scandal being linked to his signature legislation, the Affordable Care Law (Obamacare), his choice was crucial to an already besieged administration.

McDonald, 61, is a native of Gary, Ind., who grew up in Chicago. He was at the helm of Proctor and Gamble from July 2009 to July 2013. He is a past graduate of the West Point Academy and a captain in the 82nd Airborne.

If confirmed by the Senate, McDonald would replace Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson, who replaced Eric Shinseki as head of the agency. Shinseki resigned May 30 after apologizing for the agency's problems.

With the midterm elections a mere four months away, the president can ill-afford to produce any more bad publicity for his administration. Odds makers are now predicting the Republicans will take the Senate majority back in November. The defeat would be a major blow to the White House’s plans for President Obama’s last two years of his second term.

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