7 Things You Need to Know About Ashton Carter

The would-be defense secretary has a history of “wise-mouthing.”

But there’s more to the Pennsylvania native than meets the eye. Here are seven things you need to know about the defense secretary nominee:

1. He’s highly educated: Carter is a physicist and medieval historian by training, educated at Yale and Oxford and taught classes at Harvard, according to his official biography. In 1975, he published an article in Yale Scientific titled “Quarks, Charm and the Psi Particle.” His aides once referred to him as the “600-pound brain in the room.”

3. He’s a “big Motown fan,” Obama said today. Obama quoted Carter’s favorite song, “Reach Out I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops, saying to his new would-be cabinet member, “Ash, I’m reaching out to you. You’ve been there.”

4. He once compared public service to being a Christian in the Roman Coliseum: “You never know when they are going to release the lions and have you torn apart for the amusement of onlookers. And then, of course, if your job is world affairs, reality intrudes even in Washington. Crises and emergencies and conflicts erupt around the world on their schedule, not yours,” according to his 2007 faculty autobiographical essay at Harvard.

5. He got fired from his first job for “wise-mouthing the owner.” He was 11 and working at a Philadelphia car wash.

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