Dec 6, VA News: President-Elect Obama to Announce New Secretary on Sunday, Dec 7


Obama to Announce Pick for Veterans Affairs

December 6, 2008 (Bloomberg) – President-elect Barack Obama will announce his choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs tomorrow at a news conference in Chicago, according to a Democratic aide.

Obama’s pick will join him at the press conference scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Chicago time, to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, according to the aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Possible choices to lead the department include Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran who lost a 2006 bid for Congress and serves as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs; former U.S. Senator Max Cleland of Georgia, a disabled Vietnam veteran who led veterans affairs under President Jimmy Carter; Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska; and Maryland Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, an Iraq War Veteran.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, leaving more than 2,400 servicemen dead and destroying most of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The surprise strike drew the U.S. into World War II.

Obama has moved quickly to fill out his Cabinet. He’s named New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner as Treasury secretary, New York senator Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as Commerce secretary. Defense Secretary Robert Gates will remain at the Pentagon, and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano will head Homeland Security. Obama named former Justice Department official Eric Holder as attorney general.

Former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle has accepted Obama’s offer to become Health and Human Services secretary, though the selection hasn’t been formally announced.

Obama said Nov. 26 he’s seeking a combination of “experience with fresh thinking” for his cabinet.

Cabinet secretaries are subject to Senate confirmation, once they are formally nominated, after Obama takes office on Jan. 20. Gates won’t have to undergo reconfirmation as defense chief.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julianna Goldman in Chicago at

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