- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 3, 2009

President Obama on Tuesday nominated Rep. John M. McHugh, New York Republican, to be secretary of the Army, citing the congressman as proof that his administration wants input from across the political spectrum.

John shares my belief that a sustainable national security strategy must include a bipartisan consensus at home,” the president said. “He hasn’t agreed with every decision my administration has made. But he brings patriotism and a pragmatism that has won him respect on both sides of the aisle.”

If confirmed, Mr. McHugh would join other Republicans such as Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former congressman from Illinois, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, a holdover from President George W. Bush’s administration.

Mr. McHugh has been an opponent of some of Mr. Obama’s terrorism policies, including trying some suspects in U.S. courts and possibly bringing detainees from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison to the U.S. The congressman said by choosing him, Mr. Obama has proved he’s only looking for results.

“I’m nothing more than the latest in a growing line of individuals of many different backgrounds, many different life experiences, as my nomination suggests, different political persuasions, who have been provided by President Obama the chance to heed, to answer new, important and challenging problems facing this country,” Mr. McHugh said.

His confirmation would create an open congressional seat in upstate New York, though Mr. McHugh won re-election in 2008 with 65 percent of the vote. Still, Democrats may sense an opening after their candidate - Scott Murphy - staged a come-from-behind win in a special election in a neighboring New York district.

In his short time as the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, Mr. McHugh won praise from Democrats for his bipartisan approach. He was at the White House late last month for the signing of a defense weapons acquisition reform bill he helped Democrats shepherd through Congress.