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In a statement provided to The Associated Press, Murawsky said his withdrawal was “in consideration of recent events, but most importantly in the best interests of serving our nation’s veterans.”

The White House said in a statement that Murawsky feared a prolonged fight over his confirmation, adding that he believed the role was too important not to be filled quickly.

Obama accepted Murawsky’s withdrawal and will move quickly to find a replacement, the White House statement said. The VA is required by law to convene a commission to seek and review candidates for the position, which oversees the Veterans Health Administration.

Robert Jesse, Petzel’s chief deputy, has served as acting undersecretary since Petzel resigned May 16.

Gibson took over the VA temporarily last Friday after former Secretary Eric Shinseki, an ex-Army general, resigned under pressure. Taking care of the 1,700 veterans left off the Phoenix list is his top priority as VA chief, Gibson said during a tour of VA facilities in Phoenix, where the furor started.

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Tang reported from Phoenix. Associated Press writer Donna Cassata in Washington contributed to this report.

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