Who is the new VA secretary nominee Bob McDonald? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Who is the new VA secretary nominee Bob McDonald?

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A profile on the man President Barack Obama has nominated to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. (Source: POOL/CNN) A profile on the man President Barack Obama has nominated to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. (Source: POOL/CNN)

(CNN) – The man who once made big bucks selling Tide laundry detergent and Crest toothpaste was a surprise pick as the new Veterans Affairs chief.

“At the VA, the veteran is our customer, and we must all focus all day, every day, on getting them the benefits and the care that they’ve so earned,” Bob McDonald said.

McDonald graduated top of his class at West Point and served five years in the Army, which the president underscored while talking about him Monday.

“Let me state the obvious, this is not going to be easy assignment. Bob knows that. But, like any army Airborne Ranger, Bob has a reputation for being ready and jumping into tough situations, taking charge and going all the way,” President Barack Obama said.

Still, McDonald is best known for his career leading Proctor and Gamble, his common sense approach to business and innovation is laid out in a video on YouTube.

“Where to play how to win what to do and importantly what not to do,” McDonald said.

The choice of McDonald may also be a political plus for the White House in its dealings with congressional critics. He donated to Republicans - including Mitt Romney and House Speaker John Boehner – and he’s a registered Republican.

McDonald’s former company is headquartered in Boehner’s hometown of Cincinnati. Boehner’s been a harsh critic of the administration’s VA problems, but he praised McDonald in a statement.

The White House is hoping McDonald can even appease people on the Hill who are calling for heads to roll at the VA.

“And there are some important changes that need to be made to ensure that that important work is actually getting done,” McDonald said. “And so having somebody that has experience in the military, has strong bipartisan support for taking the job, and has a proven track record of implementing changes in large organizations, to great effect, makes him the right choice for this task.”

Paul Rieckhoff, Chief Executive of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said he had mixed feelings about the choice.

“He doesn't come from the military, he doesn't come from the healthcare community, [and] he doesn't come from inside the VA,” Rieckhoff said. “So he is not a name that was on anyone's radar. But look we need a turnaround artist. And if he's got experience that can help turn around the VA then that's exactly what we're going to need because the trust is broken.”

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