White House press secretary Jay Carney said administration officials are “recalibrating” their approach to President Obama's nominee for surgeon general after the National Rifle Association's strong opposition siphoned off key Democratic support.
Carney predicted Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy, a Harvard and Yale-educated former emergency room doctor, would eventually be confirmed as surgeon general but said the White House is reassessing its approach to the nomination after several pro-gun Democrats indicated they would oppose it.
“We're recalibrating our approach,” Carney told reporters during Monday's daily press briefing.
He said Obama continues to back Murthy for surgeon general but would not say whether their shift in strategy to get him confirmed would mean postponing the vote until after the midterm election or choosing to appoint him during a congressional recess.
Carney also declined to comment on the NRA's opposition. The nation's top gun lobbyists usually don't oppose nominations unless they deal specifically with gun rights issues, but the group has taken issue with Murthy's vocal support of gun-control measures.
In February, the NRA sent a letter to Senate leaders, arguing against confirming Murthy.
“Dr. Murthy's record of political activism in support of radical gun-control measures raises significant concerns,” they wrote, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.