Senate hawks push for quick confirmation of Obama's Iraq ambassador pick

Obama named Stephen Beecroft on Monday after his first pick, Brett McGurk, withdrew his nomination amid a sex scandal. McCain had also expressed concerns about McGurk's close ties to Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and his failure to push Iraqis to allow a residual U.S. force in Iraq past 2011.

Beecroft served as ambassador to Amman from 2008 to 2011 before being named deputy chief of mission in Iraq since July 2011 and chargé d'affaires since June 2012.

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“We strongly support President Obama's nomination of Ambassador Stephen Beecroft to be our next ambassador to Iraq," the three lawmakers wrote in a joint statement. "Steve is one of our most talented Foreign Service Officers and a wise choice for this challenging post, to which we are confident he will bring strong leadership and clear thinking. Having visited Baghdad last week where Steve is currently serving as Chargé, we came away deeply impressed by Steve's understanding of Iraq and qualifications to be ambassador. We urge our Senate colleagues to confirm him swiftly, before we leave for recess.”