McCain Blocks Obama’s Defense Nominees

Robert Work and Christine Wormuth gave “naive” answers at their confirmation hearing, the senator said.

McCain: Balks at "baked in" overruns.
National Journal
Sara Sorcher
Feb. 25, 2014, 12:53 p.m.

Sen. John Mc­Cain is block­ing Pres­id­ent Obama’s picks to fill seni­or Pentagon po­s­i­tions, call­ing their an­swers to ques­tions at a Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee con­firm­a­tion hear­ing Tues­day “na­ive” and “non­sensic­al.”

The Ari­zona Re­pub­lic­an was vis­ibly frus­trated that Robert Work, Obama’s nom­in­ee for deputy De­fense sec­ret­ary, was not in­tim­ately fa­mil­i­ar with a crit­ic­al gov­ern­ment re­port de­tail­ing cost over­runs from the Lit­tor­al Com­bat Ship pro­gram.

Sep­ar­ately, Mc­Cain ripped Christine Wor­muth, Obama’s pick for un­der­sec­ret­ary of De­fense for policy. The nom­in­ee, he said, was either ig­nor­ant of the threat al-Qaida poses or was re­fus­ing to an­swer his ques­tions about the ter­ror­ist group’s spread.

“Their an­swers were not only na­ive but non­sensic­al,” Mc­Cain told re­port­ers Tues­day.

Want to know what happened, ex­actly?

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4764) }}

Work, a former Navy un­der­sec­ret­ary, has been a strong ad­voc­ate of the Lit­tor­al Com­bat Ship pro­gram — a next-gen­er­a­tion sur­face ship his­tor­ic­ally con­tro­ver­sial for its delays and cost over­runs. The Pentagon has in­struc­ted the Navy to scale back its planned pur­chase of 52 ships down to 32 ships.

After Work de­scribed the new plan as “very nor­mal with Navy ship­build­ing,” Mc­Cain in­ter­jec­ted, ask­ing if Work be­lieves the “cost over­runs” as­so­ci­ated with the ship were nor­mal.

The ex­change is here:

Sep­ar­ately, Mc­Cain called out Wor­muth for de­scrib­ing al-Qaida as a “nod­al threat.” Earli­er this month, Dir­ect­or of Na­tion­al In­tel­li­gence James Clap­per said al-Qaida was not on the path to de­feat, and that the ter­ror­ist net­work is in­stead “morph­ing” as its fran­chises spread to hot­spots around the world. Here’s what happened when Mc­Cain pressed for de­tails about Wor­muth’s slightly awk­ward phras­ing:

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4763) }}

Work and Wor­muth oth­er­wise had ap­peared to be re­l­at­ively un­con­tro­ver­sial picks for their re­spect­ive po­s­i­tions, des­pite an on­slaught of tough ques­tions from law­makers about the Pentagon’s planned budget for next year.

Stacy Kaper contributed to this article.
What We're Following See More »
AT LEAST NOT YET
Paul Ryan Can’t Get Behind Trump
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

Paul Ryan told CNN today he's "not ready" to back Donald Trump at this time. "I'm not there right now," he said. Ryan said Trump needs to unify "all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement" and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to "have something that they're proud to support and proud to be a part of. And we've got a ways to go from here to there."

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Preet Bharara Learned at the Foot of Chuck Schumer
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

In The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin gives Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the longread treatment. The scourge of corrupt New York pols, bad actors on Wall Street, and New York gang members, Bharara learned at the foot of Chuck Schumer, the famously limelight-hogging senator whom he served as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee staff. No surprise then, that after President Obama appointed him, Bharara "brought a media-friendly approach to what has historically been a closed and guarded institution. In professional background, Bharara resembles his predecessors; in style, he’s very different. His personality reflects his dual life in New York’s political and legal firmament. A longtime prosecutor, he sometimes acts like a budding pol; his rhetoric leans more toward the wisecrack than toward the jeremiad. He expresses himself in the orderly paragraphs of a former high-school debater, but with deft comic timing and a gift for shtick."

Source:
DRUG OFFENDERS
Obama Commutes the Sentences of 58 Prisoners
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama has announced another round of commutations of prison sentences. Most of the 58 individuals named are incarcerated for possessions with intent to distribute controlled substances. The prisoners will be released between later this year and 2018.

STAFF PICKS
Trump Roadmapped His Candidacy in 2000
6 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Daily Beast has unearthed a piece that Donald Trump wrote for Gear magazine in 2000, which anticipates his 2016 sales pitch quite well. "Perhaps it's time for a dealmaker who can get the leaders of Congress to the table, forge consensus, and strike compromise," he writes. Oddly, he opens by defending his reputation as a womanizer: "The hypocrites argue that a man who loves and appreciates beautiful women (and does so legally and openly) shouldn't become a national leader? Is there something wrong with appreciating beautiful women? Don't we want people in public office who show signs of life?"

Source:
‘NO MORAL OR ETHICAL GROUNDING’
Sen. Murphy: Trump Shouldn’t Get Classified Briefigs
6 hours ago
THE LATEST
×