WH Backs Away From Surgeon General Nominee Who Favors Stricter Gun Laws
The White House said yesterday it will "recalibrate" its strategy on the nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy to be the next surgeon general. The move comes after Murthy faced criticism from the NRA and pro-gun rights lawmakers over his calls for stricter gun control measures.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has referred to Murthy as a "basher of the Second Amendment," questioning whether the doctor would put aside his political beliefs as surgeon general. Republicans have also called out Murthy for co-founding the group Doctors for America, which championed ObamaCare.
Murthy was approved with bipartisan support by a Senate committee, but the full Senate has not taken up his confirmation. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the administration is still deciding "how and when to move forward."
The decision comes on the heels of a nominee for a top Justice Department position, Debo Adegbile, failing to win Senate support after facing questions about his representation of a convicted cop killer.
Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, said this morning it all comes down to politics because nervous Senate Democrats do not want to damage their re-election chances by supporting Murthy. One of those senators, Mark Begich (D-AK), had already vowed to vote against Murthy.
Lowry described Democrats as being in panic mode on Capitol Hill.
"The Democrats are in very serious jeopardy of losing the Senate. So if you're a red state Democrat up for re-election you want to do all that you can to distance yourself from the president. The last thing you want to do is take a tough vote that you're gonna get hammered on," said Lowry, explaining that there's no "upside" for Democrats to hold the vote.
Lowry said every Democrat knows that November could be a "disaster" if President Obama's approval ratings remain where they have been in recent weeks.
Watch the discussion above.