Senate Passes Bill to Raise Debt Ceiling; But It’s Tied to Their Paychecks – http://abcn.ws/WikLGD
Blotter – Officials: Agents Raided Office of Menendez Friend After Document Shredding Truck Spotted – New Jersey Democrat Confirms Trips to Dominican Republic with Dr. Salomon Melgen, Denies Prostitution Claim – http://abcn.ws/XWd5X0
Obama’s Library is Not Taking Down Reagan’s House - http://abcn.ws/XaMPaG
Hazing Chuck Hagel - For Chuck Hagel today’s nine-hour hearing was a TV tryout under klieg lights and what you’ll see on TV was rough. Compare the high-heat grilling he got today with the fast’n'easy confirmation of Sen. John Kerry.
Republicans on the Armed Services Committee – Hagel’s former colleagues – came for blood and the witness needed some breaks he wasn’t getting.
This was the senate confirmation equivalent of hazing a player who went to the other team.
Hagel is a steely guy who speaks slowly and chooses his words. That didn’t go over particularly well under tough cross-exams from people like Sen. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who were armed with a quiver full of previous quotes on Iran, Hezbollah and Israel.
They wanted “yes” or “no.” Hagel wanted time. David Vitter called Hagel a “flip flopper.” Ted Cruz said Hagel was less supportive of Israel and combating terrorism than anyone else in the Congress.
Hagel may have sound reasoning for some of his positions on Israel and Iran, but this performance is not going over well.
His back-and-forth on the 2007 Iraq surge with Sen. McCain was particularly devastating. McCain, who arguably lost the presidency in 2008 over his push for the surge, told Hagel he was on the wrong side of history.
Hagel regained his footing a bit later when he said, “In the surge case in Iraq, we lost almost 1,200 dead Americans during that surge, and thousands of wounded. Now, was it required? Was it necessary? Senator McCain has his own opinion on that, shared by others. I’m not sure. I’m not that certain that it was required.”
Chris Good wrapped the day – abcn.ws/WVNcaL
Character Sketches – Hagel, the Infantryman, McCain, the Pilot POW and the Surge - http://abcn.ws/WDLYzO
Is Hagel Failing? – Here’s what National Journal’s Michael Hirsh said: The strong, silent-type approach worked for Hagel when he was on the other side of the firing line, just one of a gauntlet of senators asking questions, but it wasn’t working on Thursday, with him in the hot seat and getting it from all sides, from some Democrats and a battery of hostile Republicans who began by praising his service to the nation and then proceeded to eviscerate him. During the daylong hearings, Hagel appeared to lose Republican after Republican, and even a couple of Democrats, like New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand, looked a little doubtful. Hagel’s manner and responses did little to reassure anyone, it seemed, about his toughness on Iran and firmness on Israel. http://bit.ly/VqvHhq
Several Republicans have already said they’ll oppose him. But it will take nearly every one to defeat him. Rubio and Inhofe said flatly today they were against. Inhofe said it to Hagel’s face.
QOTD – It makes sense in context, maybe, but the bolded part of Hagel’s testimony is getting come play – ”A number of questions were asked of me today about specific programs, submarine programs, different areas of technology and acquisitions, and our superior technology. I’ve said I do not know enough about it. I don’t. There are a lot of things I don’t know about. If confirmed, I intend to know a lot more than I do. I will have to. But at the same time, I would never think that this, as I said earlier, is about me or I will be running anything. I will be the leader. I’ll be responsible. I will be accountable, but I’ve got to rely on the right teams, the right people to bring those people together. And again, it’s accountability and responsibility. I would stop there, if that gives you some sense of how I would intend to do this business.”
A Vitter / Rubio Feud Brews - David Vitter, Marco – There may be a brouhaha brewing between two Republican teams on Capitol Hill after Sen. David Vitter criticized Sen. Marco Rubio for his approach to immigration reform. http://abcn.ws/WE9LCy (Arlette Saenz)
Immigration Reform: The Devil Is in the Details – Will the 11 million plus immigrants here illegally have to register, get a social security number, pay taxes in order to comply? George Stephanopoulos takes viewer questions – http://abcn.ws/WV2nkF
NRA President: Harry Reid’s Role in Guns Debate a ‘Guessing Game’ – Count the National Rifle Association among the very many folks in Washington wondering where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will land in the current gun debate. http://abcn.ws/VwE8K3 (Rick Klein)
Lynch is In, Where’s Brown? – Rep. Stephen Lynch Runs for Massachusetts Senate Seat; Scott Brown’s Decision Still Unknown- After weeks of speculation, Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch of South Boston launched his bid for a U.S. Senate seat representing Massachusetts, declaring his candidacy in an upcoming special election and kicking off an intra-party primary battle between himself and U.S. Rep. Ed Markey of Malden, Mass. http://abcn.ws/W3rvG8 (Elizabeth Hartfield)
Senate Passes a Short-Term Debt Limit Suspension Congress can breathe for another few months. It just pushed back another deadline. http://abcn.ws/Xb0nmz (Sunlen Miller)