McCain satisfied with war council shake-up

John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Thursday indicated that he supports President Obama's new picks to head the Pentagon and CIA. 

The Arizona senator appeared to be satisfied with Obama's decision to move CIA Director Leon Panetta to the Defense Department to replace Robert Gates and appoint Afghan commander Gen. David Petraeus to replace Panetta, even though he preferred another position for the general.

ADVERTISEMENT
"I think so," he said when asked by France24-TV if the moves are wise. "I think especially Gen. Petraeus is very highly qualified. I would have liked to see him as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but the president has the prerogative as how to choose his team."

The Armed Services committee will oversee Panetta's nomination to become Defense secretary. The White House on Wednesday said it would like to see him in his new position by July 1, pending full Senate confirmation.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of McCain's top allies on the committee, applauded the moves on Wednesday, saying he "could not be more pleased with these selections."

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has also praised the shake-up. 

Obama also selected Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, as the next U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, and chose Marine Lt. Gen. John Allen, a deputy chief at U.S. Central Command, to replace Petraeus in Afghanistan.