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Hearing Hangover

08 Feb 2013

Hearing Hangover

FirstRead writes, “There’s no need to sugarcoat it — former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s (R-NE) confirmation hearing yesterday before the Senate Armed Service Committee was brutal. It was a combination of a defense secretary nominee who appeared unprepared (you could tell he’s been out of politics since 2008), as well as a downright hostile reception from his former GOP colleagues (especially John McCain). Here’s the Washington Post: “Hagel appeared defensive, frustrated and lethargic during much of the hearing.” The New York Times: “Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee showed him little deference, cross-examining him like prosecutors and often cutting him off.” STILL, DEMOCRATS BELIEVE HE’LL BE CONFIRMED “But is it enough to sink his nomination? Democrats — from both the White House and Capitol Hill – are still confident Hagel will win confirmation. You’re unlikely to see a Senate Democrat vote against him or even peel off today; in fact, the hostile GOP questioning might have made Democrats even more united, or so the White House hopes and believes.” THE NEXT SecDEF The Washington Post’s Cillizza, put it well: “Chuck Hagel was … just plain bad during his confirmation hearing to be the next Secretary of Defense. And it almost certainly won’t keep him from becoming the next man to lead the Pentagon.” DON’T FORGET THE HOME TEAM During the hearing, members from both sides of the aisle made sure to bring up whatever local military or defense installation is in their state to Hagel. And they asked him to make sure he understands how important (fill in the blank) is to our national security.

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