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Gary Sinise should be Romney’s VA secretary, says Gingrich

“You do not need to have a better bureaucrat. What you want first of all is a passion focused on the veteran, not the bureaucrat.â?ť

If elected president, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney should add some star power by seating Gary Sinise on his cabinet, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Human Events this week in an interview.

Gingrich suggested that Romney could make the CSI:NY star, best known for his 1994 breakout role as Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump, his Secretary of Veterans Affairs, saying Sinise cares deeply for military veterans and could bring fresh eyes to the job.

â??We know Gary and we very much admire what heâ??s done,â?ť Gingrich said. â??You donâ??t need, and I say this with all due respect to (current VA Secretary) Gen. (Eric) Shinseki … you do not need to have a better bureaucrat. What you want first of all is a passion focused on the veteran, not the bureaucrat.â?ť

Sinise, who has been touring with the USO since 2004 as the lead guitarist and founding member of the Lt. Dan Band, has been compared to the late comedian Bob Hope in terms of his service to the U.S. military. In addition to performing for troops and their families, Sinise sits on the advisory council of the nonprofit organization Hope for the Warriors and has extensively promoted the National Veterans Art Museum, among other efforts.

Itâ??s not the first time the actorâ??s name has been mentioned in terms of a political role; in 2009, GOP adviser Nicole Wallace suggested Sinise as a potential 2012 challenger to President Barack Obama.

According to the Federal Election Commission, Sinise donated to Sen. John McCainâ??s 2008 presidential bid and has more recently contributed to Republican candidates including tea party Congressman and Army veteran Allen West (Fla.), 32-year Army National Guardsman Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.) and editor-in-chief Joel Barry Pollak, who made a failed run for Congress in 2010.

But to date, the actor has not pursued a more active political role.

An agent representing Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band did not immediately offer comment on the story.

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Hope Hodge first covered military issues for the Daily News of Jacksonville, N.C., where her beat included the sprawling Marine Corps base, Camp Lejeune. During her two years at the paper, she received investigative reporting awards for exposing a former Marine who was using faked military awards to embezzle disability pay from the government and for breaking news about the popularity of the designer drug Spice in the ranks. Her work has also appeared in The American Spectator, New York Sun, WORLD Magazine, and The Washington Post. Hodge was born near Boston, Mass., where she grew up as a lover of Revolutionary War history and fall foliage. She also discovered a love of politics and policy as a grassroots volunteer and activist on Beacon Hill. She graduated in 2009 with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from The King's College in New York City, where she served as editor-in-chief of her school newspaper and worked as a teaching assistant when not freelancing or using student discounts to see Broadway shows. Hopeâ??s email is