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Defense Secretary Robert Gates to be Obama's 'designated successor'

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They call it "the designated successor," but really it's the guy they leave behind. If catastrophe befalls the new president and all of his other officials during inaugural ceremonies, a Cabinet secretary who is selected not to attend the day's events becomes the steward of a caretaker government.

At Tuesday's presidential inaugural, the White House announced today, that person will be Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. The Pentagon chief -- the only holdover from the Republican White House asked to serve in the Democratic Obama administration, and the man whose command of U.S. troops could be important in such a scenario -- will be in a secure, undisclosed location, said White House Press Secretary Dana Perino.

In order to ensure continuity of government, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been designated by the outgoing administration, with the concurrence of the incoming administration, to serve as the designated successor during Inauguration Day.

The White House usually asks one Cabinet official to stay behind at key events -- such as the State of the Union address -- in which where a high-profile assembly of power could invite tragedy.

But this is the first presidential transition since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and both administrations were said to be attuned to a heightened danger during the hours when Barack Obama is sworn in, lunches with congressional leaders on Capitol Hill and then views the inaugural parade along Pennsylvania Avenue.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Defense Secretary Robert Gates meets with U.S. troops. Credit: Cherie Thurlby / Defense Department

 
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Glad to see that Obama has retained George Bush's man!
He's leaning fast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"president" gates.

hmm.

I would not say that keeping Gates on means what you think. Of course Obama wants a former Bush person as head of Defense for the Iraq withdrawal. If there is some al quada ethnic cleansing as we leave, Obama can blame Bush for it!

Obama is anything but dumb.

I would have to agree Robert Gates is the perfect candidate for the United States Secretary of Defense because he has kept our nation safe from anymore terrorist attacks.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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