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Boehner, a harsh critic of the VA, said McDonald can succeed only “if his boss, the president, first commits to doing whatever it takes to give our veterans the world-class health care system they deserve by articulating a vision for sweeping reform.”

Daniel Dellinger, national commander of the American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans group and the first to call for the ouster of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki., said he has never met McDonald and had not heard him of until Sunday, a few hours before his selection became public.

Still, Dellinger said he was rooting for McDonald to succeed: “Being an infantry officer myself, I think he’s a good man for the job.”

Like Boehner, Dellinger and other veterans leaders said McDonald’s success or failure will depend in large part on whether Obama backs the new nominee to make the changes that are needed.

“If the president doesn’t make VA a priority, Superman can’t do this job,” Rieckhoff said.

McDonald said in accepting the nomination that he plans to put veterans at the center of everything the VA does. “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 have so earned,” he said Monday. “That’s the only reason we are here.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who chairs the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said he was reserving judgment until he hears firsthand McDonald’s plans to fix the VA. Sanders said he wanted to know whether McDonald supports temporarily contracting out services to private medical providers to reduce waiting times.

Even so, McDonald appears headed for easy Senate confirmation. Both parties had urged Obama to fill the vacancy quickly so the agency overhaul can begin in earnest.