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Defense Secretary William Perry said the Pentagon may oppose the findings of the federal base closing commission . The announcement is good news for President Clinton as he searches for a way to keep open California's McClellan Air Force base and Long Beach Naval shipyard without appearing too political. Closing the bases would cost nearly 27,000 jobs in a state whose 54 electoral votes the President needs. "What Clinton would like is to get cover from the Pentagon saying that it is militarily necessary to keep these bases open," saysTIME's Mark Thompson. But the Pentagon may have a hard time making that case. "The people on the base closing commission tell me that McClellan was the strongest candidate for closing on their list. The Pentagon's own numbers say it should be closed. The Air Force recommended that it be closed in 1993 before Les Aspin saved it for political reasons."