File - Ashton Carter testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 12, 2013. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
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Former Pentagon official Ashton Carter is likely to be President Barack Obama's nominee for defense secretary, according to administration officials, putting him in line to take over a sprawling department that has had an uneasy relationship with the White House.Officials said Obama had not made a final decision on the matter, but Carter had emerged as the top candidate. At the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest praised Carter effusively for serving "very, very ably" at the Pentagon previously and noted Carter had been easily confirmed by the Senate once before.If Obama moves forward with Carter's nomination and he is approved by the Senate, the 60-year-old would replace Chuck Hagel, who resigned as Pentagon chief last week under pressure from Obama.
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