Blunt: We have the votes to delay Hagel confirmation; Update: McCain won’t commit to opposing filibuster?

posted at 12:01 pm on February 13, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Can Republicans delay the confirmation of Chuck Hagel — at least long enough to force the White House to provide more information on Barack Obama’s actions on the night of the Benghazi attack, along with more transparency on Hagel’s speeches over the last few years?  Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) says yes, and that eventually the Senate will get the information that it seeks:

The GOP, which controls 45 votes in the Senate, would need 41 votes to block former Sen. Hagel from hitting the 60-vote threshold that some Republicans have threatened.

“I don’t think we’ll move forward for a few days on that,” Blunt said at POLITICO’s post-State of the Union event. “And there’s been requests for more information. I think ultimately Senator Hagel will provide that information.”

In particular, Republicans on the Armed Services Committee have asked for more detailed financial disclosures from Hagel – a demand dismissed by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the committee’s chairman.

That’s not the only area in which Republicans want more disclosure.  Lindsey Graham threatened holds on both Hagel and John Brennan in order to force the White House to answer questions that arose in last week’s hearings on the Benghazi terrorist attack.  Leon Panetta testified publicly that neither Obama nor anyone at the White House bothered to check back with him after his initial briefing on the matter, and no one knows whether Obama attempted to intervene with the Libyan government to free up US resources that were being detained at the airport.  The last leverage the Senate has on those questions are the Brennan and Hagel confirmations, and that may have convinced enough Republicans to sign onto a delaying tactic that will not amount to a full filibuster on a final confirmation vote.

Jen Rubin thinks that John McCain might have left the door open to that strategy:

The big news, though, was largely missed by casual observers: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) left the door open, ever so slightly but nevertheless deliberately, to hold up Hagel’s nomination:

The key portion of McCain’s remarks was this: “I’m somewhat disturbed to hear that today there’s two more speeches that [Hagel] had not reported, that maybe just surfaced. And yet at the same time I believe he has complied. I do not believe that we should move forward with his nomination until questions are answered that Senator Graham and Senator Ayotte and I have asked to be answered.”

That last reference is to a letter he and Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) sent to the president today, asking a single question: “During the eight hours the U.S. mission was under attack, did you personally speak with any officials in the Libyan government to request assistance for our American personnel?”

McCain and other senators understand this is effectively the last opportunity to wrangle information out of the White House on Benghazi. Once Hagel is confirmed, the administration will have no reason to cooperate with congressional oversight committees at all. Holding up the final floor vote on Hagel is the only arrow left in their quiver.

And later, it became clear that Hagel had not disclosed all of his speeches, as he supposedly asserted:

An aide to a senior Republican senator has told Right Turn that there are some 12 speeches over 5 years that Chuck Hagel did not disclose to the committee, including one to the Arab-American Discrimination Committee Convention in 2008. In one speech before the Israel Policy forum, Hagel proclaimed:” The Syrian-Israeli peace is a logical next piece in how this plays out. It’s a logical next piece.”

He also gave one of the most full-throated defenses of “linkage” we’ve heard[.]

And even Hagel’s supporters acknowledge that his confirmation has so far been a disater:

Washington Rep. Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said at POLITICO’s event that Hagel has a “significant challenge” ahead to build his credibility both at the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill, particularly following Hagel’s rocky confirmation hearing last month.

“It hurt,” Smith said of Hagel’s performance. “I can’t lie about that. it was not generally a very good performance. I don’t think it’s totally reflective of the man; [he] obviously, has a very distinguished career both in the military and the government.”

Perhaps a delay will allow for a wiser choice to replace Hagel.

Update: Politico asked McCain whether he will vote to allow Hagel’s confirmation to come to the floor — and gets a different answer than McCain was offering last week:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is backing away from his no-filibuster stance on the nomination of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary.

After saying just days ago that Senate Republicans shouldn’t filibuster Hagel’s nod, McCain now says he hasn’t made up his mind about whether he would vote to end debate and allow a floor vote on the former Nebraska senator’s confirmation.

McCain is now waiting to see whether the White House will respond to a letter requesting more information about Obama’s “actions and orders” the night of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

“We are hoping to get an answer to a simple question,” McCain told POLITICO.

That’s a bad sign for Hagel and the White House.  If McCain switches to the filibuster, they won’t get either of these confirmations through the Senate.


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Second rate nominee from a third rate prez. Glad we can stop this guy from getting in as SECDEF.

jake49 on February 13, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Perhaps a delay will allow for a wiser choice to replace Hagel.

Ed,

Keep on praying for that neoconservative who will give you the war with Iran that you covet.

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Gosh I sure hope hagel isn’t confirmed, but who knows with those in dc?
L

letget on February 13, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Maxine Waters will be better for Obama.

Hagel is a malevolent dunce.

Schadenfreude on February 13, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Keep on praying for that neoconservative who will give you the war with Iran that you covet.

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Actually, it’s pretty clear that the alternative is Michelle Flournoy, who would adhere to Obama’s policy just as closely — but is far more qualified and prepared for the job.

Ed Morrissey on February 13, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Perhaps a delay will allow for a wiser choice to replace Hagel.

Yes, Hagel had a tough go of it during his confirmation hearing. However, considering that he was being question by a bunch of hacks who used distortions and baseless innuendo in order to trip him up I think he did just fine. If Ed or anyone else here were being questioned under the same circumstances I think they would have fared much worse.

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Perhaps a delay will allow for a wiser choice to replace Hagel.

LOL. A wiser choice? Out of Barry’s admin?

Ain’t no such thing.

hawkeye54 on February 13, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Actually, it’s pretty clear that the alternative is Michelle Flournoy, who would adhere to Obama’s policy just as closely — but is far more qualified and prepared for the job.
Ed Morrissey on February 13, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Ed,

Can you specifically explain what is it about Chuck Hagel’s background and experience that makes him unqualified to serve as Secretary of Defense? Also would you explain what experience you have that qualifies you to make a determination that Hagel is unqualified for this job?

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 12:15 PM

mccain will cave…c’mon

cmsinaz on February 13, 2013 at 12:17 PM

If Ed or anyone else here were being questioned under the same circumstances I think they would have fared much worse.

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 12:11 PM

You would have been absolutely stellar up there. Hacks or no hacks, every question fielded by you would have been a grand slam. It would have been like Mohamet Ali in the ring with Erkel.

Do the country a favor and run for office patriot. We need you. The world needs you. Israel needs you.

tom daschle concerned on February 13, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Has Dennis Kuchinich been vetted to down size the DOD yet?

meci on February 13, 2013 at 12:21 PM

Yes, Hagel had a tough go of it during his confirmation hearing. However, considering that he was being question by a bunch of hacks who used distortions and baseless innuendo in order to trip him up I think he did just fine. If Ed or anyone else here were being questioned under the same circumstances I think they would have fared much worse.

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Sounds to me that a crap DOD would be just fine with you.

Bitter Clinger on February 13, 2013 at 12:21 PM

On the issue of benghazi, here is an up-date on the story by Brigitte Gabriel that was posted last week at theblaze. True or not, Brigitte does know what she talks about, IMO!

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/02/13/it-goes-back-to-the-bin-laden-attack-expert-who-said-new-benghazi-info-will-leave-you-amazed-and-shocked-gives-more-details-to-theblaze/
L

letget on February 13, 2013 at 12:26 PM

ahaha, seriously now – show of hands. who actually thought for even a moment that limp-noodles like Lindsey Graham or John McCain possess the stones to filibuster the Emperor God-King Unicorn Princess?

Jeddite on February 13, 2013 at 12:27 PM

what a crock from dear leader…we need to work together while all he does is bash the gop…

PUHLEEZE

cmsinaz on February 13, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Ed,

Can you specifically explain what is it about Chuck Hagel’s background and experience that makes him unqualified to serve as Secretary of Defense? Also would you explain what experience you have that qualifies you to make a determination that Hagel is unqualified for this job?

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 12:15 PM

At his own hearing for the SecDef job, Hagel admitted that his knowledge of the military was weak and that there would be significant “on the job” learning on his behalf.

There are better choices.

Jabberwock on February 13, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Yea!!! The up and down vote comes down to John McCain. Has history taught you anything? The North Vietnamese beat every ounce of backbone out of this poor man. He will cave and untill Arizona votes him out he will always cave.

RickinNH on February 13, 2013 at 12:31 PM

What difference does it make?

HiJack on February 13, 2013 at 12:31 PM

ahaha, seriously now – show of hands. who actually thought for even a moment that limp-noodles like Lindsey Graham or John McCain possess the stones to filibuster the Emperor God-King Unicorn Princess?

Jeddite on February 13, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Which only serves to emphasize what an egregious choice Hagel was to begin with. He’s such a bad choice that even Graham and McCain feel comfortable pulling the plug on this farce.

cicerone on February 13, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Ed,

Can you specifically explain what is it about Chuck Hagel’s background and experience that makes him unqualified to serve as Secretary of Defense? Also would you explain what experience you have that qualifies you to make a determination that Hagel is unqualified for this job?

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 12:15 PM

We’re not talking about Ed’s experience, we’re talking about Hagels experience or lack thereof. Hagel is a hack, but you already know that right?

Now either run along or go back and read what Ed wrote, there are Democrat’s that thought Hagel made an azz out of himself at the hearings.

JPeterman on February 13, 2013 at 12:37 PM

So antifederalist are you comfortable having a SecDef that by his own admission would require on-the-job training?

D-fusit on February 13, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Ed,

Can you specifically explain what is it about Chuck Hagel’s background and experience that makes him unqualified to serve as Secretary of Defense? Also would you explain what experience you have that qualifies you to make a determination that Hagel is unqualified for this job?

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 12:15 PM

af-
Can you specifically explain what is it about Chuck Hagel’s background and experience that makes him qualified to serve as Secretary of Defense? Also would you explain what experience you have that qualifies you to make a determination that Hagel is qualified for this job?

In answering that question- please explain how, if you were on a hiring committee to hire a candidate for any job, how, in all honesty you would hire someone who would show up for their interview with an appearance and presentation as inept as Hagel did for his committee hearing, while simultaneously editing his resume to selectively omit past employment.

just asking…because, if someone here is not being completely honest about having an agenda in wanting Hagel in or out, it ain’t Ed.
Buy a mirror, buddy-

marks on February 13, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Sounds to me that a crap DOD would be just fine with you.
Bitter Clinger on February 13, 2013 at 12:21 PM

One that doesn’t recklessly initiating wars in the Middle East would be good enough for me.

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 12:59 PM

One that doesn’t recklessly initiating wars in the Middle East would be good enough for me.

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 12:59 PM

lol, you think the SecDef initiates wars unilaterally?

cptacek on February 13, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Thank you Senator Cruz for influencing McCain.

And thank you Palin for supporting Cruz.

Palin 2016

ChuckTX on February 13, 2013 at 1:03 PM

One that doesn’t recklessly initiating wars in the Middle East would be good enough for me.

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 12:59 PM

define “recklessly”, I don’t think it means what you thin it means.

marks on February 13, 2013 at 1:06 PM

One that doesn’t recklessly initiating wars in the Middle East would be good enough for me.

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Question: Do you support nuclear deterrence? If not, why not?

nobar on February 13, 2013 at 1:06 PM

McCain is a MORON! He said it is not our job to filibuster but to put the nomination up for a vote. If Hagel is as bad as this panel made him out to be and he is such a BAD pick for this nation, then he has an OBLIGATION to use every Constitutionally-afforded means to block that appointment. Instead Mccain’s opinions is ‘Well, we are out-numbered by democrats, & it is just our bad luck for not havig the numbers in our favor. SO, we have to roll over and give them whatever they want.”

Hagel has opposed every sanction imposed on Iran — the leading exporter of terrorism throughout the world, the nation currently involved in every nation throughout the Middle East in an attempt to destabilize governments, the nation currently trying to acquire a nuclear bomb, & who has said they will nuke Israel & drive the rest of the Irsraelis into the sea.

We just gave elitist, Globalist, Progressive Liberal John Kerry a free pass to take over for Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Kerry was the LIAR exposed as such by committing PERJURY BEFORE CONGRESS during Viet Nam, lying before Congress about our military in order to launch his Anti-Military/Anti-US political career. Kerry, who hates the military, recently declared that our military members were only in Iraq because they were uneducated/under-educated! Couldn’t theyfind anyone WHO ACTUALLY LIKES THE UNITED STATES to represent us to the world?

I am tired of the recycled Anti-American/Anti-Military, enemy-embracing Progressive Liberals & ignorant SOBs like John McCain, an incredible military vet who fought for his country but more resembles the FRENCH DURING WWII by SURRENDERING during/prior to every skirmish now with Liberals!

Hey John, either GROW A PAIR/BACKBONE – finding your love of country & desire to fight for her again or RETIRE!

easyt65 on February 13, 2013 at 1:06 PM

One that doesn’t recklessly initiating wars in the Middle East would be good enough for me.

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 12:59 PM

That would be infinitely better than one who admits to not knowing the military itself.

BECAUSE ….. SecDef do not start wars.

Jabberwock on February 13, 2013 at 1:10 PM

af-
Can you specifically explain what is it about Chuck Hagel’s background and experience that makes him qualified to serve as Secretary of Defense? Also would you explain what experience you have that qualifies you to make a determination that Hagel is qualified for this job?
marks on February 13, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Chuck Hagel Experience

Chairman of the Atlantic Council and the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration Advisory Committee; co-chairman of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and member of the Defense Policy Board. U.S. senator, 1997-2009; president, McCarthy & Co., an investment banking firm based in Omaha, Neb., 1992-1996; president and chief executive officer of the Private Sector Council, a nonprofit business organization in Washington, D.C., 1990-1992; co-founder, director and executive vice president of Vanguard Cellular Systems Inc. and chairman of Communications Corporation International LTD, 1985-1987; co-founder, director and president of Collins, Hagel & Clarke Inc., an international consulting, marketing and investment company involved in cellular telecommunications, 1982-1985; deputy administrator, U.S. Veterans Administration, 1981-1982; manager of government affairs, Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., 1977-1980; assistant to Rep. John Y. McCollister, R-Neb., 1971-1977; newscaster and talk-show host in Nebraska, 1969-1971; Army, including service in Vietnam, 1967-1968.

It appears to me that Chuck has a solid résumé.

In answering that question- please explain how, if you were on a hiring committee to hire a candidate for any job, how, in all honesty you would hire someone who would show up for their interview with an appearance and presentation as inept as Hagel did for his committee hearing

I would not be on a hiring committee with nearly half the members have made the decision not the a person prior to the interview. The Republicans already decided to vote no even before the hearing. The purpose of this hearing for Reblicans has been to block his confirmation. This has not been an interview. It has been a farce.

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 1:21 PM

That would be infinitely better than one who admits to not knowing the military itself.
BECAUSE ….. SecDef do not start wars.
Jabberwock on February 13, 2013 at 1:10 PM

If you bothered to read what Hagel actually said he never said he didn’t know the military. He said the he didn’t have knowledge about specific programs. I would not expect for the perspective CEO for a Fortune 500 company to have knowledge of many specific programs associated with that company. Being that the Pentagon has a $700B budget and 28000 employees I think that it is a reasonable expectation that any perspective Sect of Def candidate would not have knowledge of all the specifics.

You’re right, Sect of Def don’t start wars but they do advise the President. Since Chuck leans towards restraint I believe that this has the neocons in a tizzy.

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Question: Do you support nuclear deterrence? If not, why not?
nobar on February 13, 2013 at 1:06 PM

I wish there were no nukes to begin with buy since the nuclear genie is out the bottle the US must have a nuclear deterrence. However, I don’t believe that the US is justified to initiate a preemptive war for the purpose of keeping another country from acquiring nukes.

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 1:33 PM

I wish there were no nukes to begin with buy since the nuclear genie is out the bottle the US must have a nuclear deterrence. However, I don’t believe that the US is justified to initiate a preemptive war for the purpose of keeping another country from acquiring nukes.

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 1:33 PM

So necessary evil? Got it.

How does one deter a state whose leaders are Sign 10 Devouts?

Sign 10 (Martyrdom): To a zealot, no greater glory can exist than to die for the cause. Few devouts (or zealots) possess this sign. Even those who commit murder or betrayal often still value their lives. To cede their own life is the ultimate sign of commitment. The leaders often send these to pave the way for future conquest.

nobar on February 13, 2013 at 1:45 PM

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 1:30 PM

You are correct. I took some liberties with Hagel’s ignorance.
I am not ashamed.

In my view, his experience that you posted, does not speak well for a SecDef. Ms. Flournoy is much better qualified. And she also “leans towards restraint”

Jabberwock on February 13, 2013 at 1:54 PM

So necessary evil? Got it.
How does one deter a state whose leaders are Sign 10 Devouts?

nobar on February 13, 2013 at 1:45 PM

And you assume the 75 million inhabitants of Iran are willing to be nuked in order to achieve martyrdom? Nuclear technology is close to 70 years old. Heck, even Pakistan has nukes. If Iran were committed to martyrdom as you say they would already have them and already used them by now. Pakistan is an Islamic state, they likely gave OSB a safe haven and yet they haven’t wiped any country off the face of the earth. It looks like Mutually Assured Destruction has worked quite well.

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 1:55 PM

In my view, his experience that you posted, does not speak well for a SecDef. Ms. Flournoy is much better qualified. And she also “leans towards restraint”
Jabberwock on February 13, 2013 at 1:54 PM

That’s a fair opinion.

antifederalist on February 13, 2013 at 1:56 PM

That’s a bad sign for Hagel and the White House. If McCain switches to the filibuster, they won’t get either of these confirmations through the Senate.

But Jay Carney was on local talk radio ahead of the SOTU. He said that Hagel did fine and will be an outstanding SecDef. Of course his next comment was the old “war hero” riff as if that alone qualifies the man for a pass on being a Jew-hating homophobe with absurd ideas about nuclear proliferation. Thank you for your military service Senator but I don’t think you are the best choice to have control over our nuclear weapons programs and policies.

Happy Nomad on February 13, 2013 at 2:07 PM

You are correct. I took some liberties with Hagel’s ignorance.
I am not ashamed.

In my view, his experience that you posted, does not speak well for a SecDef. Ms. Flournoy is much better qualified. And she also “leans towards restraint”

Jabberwock on February 13, 2013 at 1:54 PM

And don’t forget she’d be all Obama’s. When the inevitable clusterfark occurs there won’t be a handy “R” to have all the sh!t to stick to.

Hagel’s just a handy scapegoat for the Obama administration.

kim roy on February 13, 2013 at 3:33 PM