The quick approval of Sen. John Kerry (D – MA) as Secretary of State is likely to be starkly different than the hearings and vote process around former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s (R – NE) Defense Secretary bid, with hearings scheduled to start Thursday.
And while a lot of the $1 million-plus in anti-Hagel advertisements have focused on his putative anti-Israel stances and Iran, the hearings are likely to include a lot of discussion on Iraq, with Sen. John McCain (R – AZ) and others expressing anger at Hagel’s opposition to the US occupation of Iraq, insisting the war “succeeded.”
Hagel has struggled to clarify his positions, but has yet to get a single “yes” vote pledge from his own party, while the Democrats appear to universally support him, at least so far.
Right now Democrats control 55 seats in the Senate, but Republicans could conceivably filibuster, or force Hagel to secure 60 seats for confirmation, meaning the battle will continue to be extremely difficult, with strong partisan tones.
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