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Friday, February 1, 2013

Hagel's Bad Day

The Constitution empowers the Senate to confirm the president's nominees for Cabinet posts and other high office.  In all of US history, it has rejected just nine Cabinet nominees.  A dozen other nominees either withdrew or failed to get a floor vote.  Nevertheless, confirmation hearings can be contentious: senators can use them to gain publicity, score political points, or send policy messages to the administration.  Chuck Hagel, President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense, had a difficult time in his confirmation hearing yesterday. CNN reports:

Dana Bash also reports that John McCain (R-Arizona), who was very tough on Hagel, was once a close ally:

Lindsay Graham (R-SC), another senator who has been close to McCain, illustrates a point about political rhetoric:  when you make a categorical statement, you'd better be prepared for a particular kind of followup question:  "Name one."