Pentagon Rebukes Richard Carmona For Keeping Them In The Dark On Political Aspirations




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 14, 2011
CONTACT: NRSC Press Office

Carmona Resigns Just Two Days After Accepting The Position To Run For U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON — Last Tuesday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that former Surgeon General Richard Carmona would lead an independent investigation on the mishandling of the remains of fallen U.S. troops at the Dover Air Force Base. This led to speculation that Carmona was resisting public pressure from Democrats in Washington to run for the Senate, and instead focusing on this new solemn duty.

Yet just two days later, Carmona announced that in fact he was running for the Democrat nomination against former Arizona party boss Don Bivens, and under apparent pressure from the DoD, he stepped down from the panel just three days after accepting the new investigative panel.

As The Hill reports:

· On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Carmona would head an independent panel overseeing the investigation into the mishandling of the remains of fallen U.S. troops. On Thursday, Carmona jumped into the Senate race in Arizona. And on Friday, he stepped down from the panel, and the Pentagon blasted him for keeping his campaign plans to himself. “If he informed the Pentagon of his intentions, it must have been in the equivalent of a quiet whisper because no one who should have heard about it did,” a senior Pentagon official told The Hill. (Josh Lederman, Pentagon blasts Ariz. Senate candidate, The Hill, 11/11/11/) 

“If Richard Carmona’s failure to have an honest and forthright discussion with the Pentagon is indicative of the type of campaign he intends to run, or the Senator he hopes to be, then clearly Arizonans deserve better,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokesman Jahan Wilcox. “Did Mr. Carmona think that serving on this panel would bolster his Senate aspirations and lead him to ignore the clear conflict of interest this might cause? The timing simply does not add up and raises questions right out of the gate about Richard Carmona’s candidacy.” 


What They Are Saying About Richard Carmona’s Decision To Leave The Pentagon To Pursue A Career In Politics

THE WASHINGTON POST: Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced Tuesday that he had named Richard H. Carmona, a former U.S. Surgeon General, to lead the panel after multiple federal investigations documented a pattern of “gross mismanagement” at the Dover mortuary. Carmona apparently did not consider it a full-time assignment; on Thursday, he declared that he would run for Arizona’s open Senate seat. (Craig Whitlock, Richard Carmona, picked to lead probe at Dover, quits to run for Senate days after selection, Washington Post, 11/12/11)

CNN: The man selected on Tuesday to run an independent investigation of problems within the military mortuary at Dover Air Force Base has already bowed out. When news broke that the Air Force was disciplining three people for improper handling of the remains of four service members, it was announced that former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona would run an independent review of procedures at Dover AFB Port Mortuary. On Friday, just three days later, the Pentagon announced Carmona was stepping down from the investigation to run for public office. (Larry Shaughnessy, Official chosen to run Dover military mortuary probe steps aside, CNN, 11/11/11)

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  1. True Conservative says

    Poor judgment indeed. Does not bode well for his campaign and I hope portends his eventual defeat.

    • Steve Corbin says

      We don’t know the specific timing of the opportunities. Is it possible that in spite of the fact he would need to change his mind on leading the mortuary investigation with whatever negative judgement people might construe, he still felt that anweriung the call for public office was ultimately more critical?

      Oh BTW, the Clear Choice Poll of November 26 showed Carmona only 4 points behind Flake, post announcement, even though Carmona has done no campaigning.

  2. Nordine Crub says

    TC – I trust you and the other SA readers will be jumping on the Flake train. That chubby red-head, can’t think of his name, isn’t going to make it to first base against Jeff Flake.

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