Defense secretary nominee Carter has back surgery

AP News
Posted: Dec 12, 2014 8:12 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense secretary nominee Ash Carter had successful back surgery Friday and was recovering ahead of confirmation hearings that could begin as early as next month, the White House said Friday.

Press secretary Josh Earnest said the surgery was planned long before President Barack Obama nominated him last week to replace Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

"Mr. Carter decided to go ahead with the previously scheduled procedure so that he could complete it before beginning his confirmation process," Earnest said in a statement. "Mr. Carter is resting comfortably with his family and is looking forward to confirmation process and if confirmed, to serving with the men and women of the Defense Department."

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The White House would not answer questions about why the surgery was necessary or how long recovery would take.