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Dreazen and Page: Why Would Anyone Want to Be Defense Secretary?

Dreazen and Page: Why Would Anyone Want to Be Defense Secretary?

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Foreign Policy Managing Editor Yochi Dreazen and USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page wondered aloud who would want to take the position of Secretary of Defense in the Obama administration on Wednesday’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on MSNBC. 

“Who wants this job? You’re trying to think of a strategy against the Islamic State that may not be doable for a White House that isn’t functional, with Congress getting ready to take over and pummel you for the next two years. So, who wants the job?” Dreazen wondered.

Host Andrea Mitchell added that it was “embarrassing” that the White House couldn’t convince anyone to take the job. And Page stated “I think it’s a hard job to sell when there are three people who have held it already all have come away with a similar story about micromanaging from the White House, difficulty breaking into the small team, small close team around the president, and these huge crises going on in Iran and Iraq and Syria and the Middle East. There’s a long list of big problems that whoever gets this job is going to have to handle.”

Page also pointed to the difference between Presidents Bush and Obama in handling their post-midterm shake-ups at the Pentagon. She reminded viewers that President Bush had Robert Gates lined up to replace Donald Rumsfeld almost immediately, while Obama announcing Hagel’s departure without having a replacement ready didn’t put him in a position of strength in international negotiations.

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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