As Ed previewed this morning, President Obama nominated Chuck Hagel to replace Leon Panetta at the Department of Defense, as well as John Brennan to take over at the CIA, at the White House on Monday afternoon. Here’s the full vid, for your viewing pleasure (and here’s the transcript):


Why President Obama seems so inclined to be borderline belligerent with insisting upon Hagel’s nomination is still a head-scratcher for me, since Republicans in the Senate have made it all too clear that Hagel’s successful appointment is far from a sure thing, unless Obama is dead set against the perception that he’s been cowed by the GOP for a second time on a potential nomination. I’m with Sen. Portman on this one:

I am surprised and disappointed President Obama has chosen to move forward with Senator Hagel’s nomination given the significant concerns that both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have expressed about Senator Hagel’s positions and past votes on issues regarding some of our closest allies and most pressing national security threats.  I believe Senator Hagel should get a fair look and an opportunity to defend his record, his past comments, and his current beliefs, but I don’t understand why the Administration is looking to pick yet another political fight instead of working with Congress to solve some of the very real problems we face as a country.

Panetta, at least, seemed like he was in good spirits — I’d guess that the novelty of dealing with all of the political punting on the sequestration cuts and the subsequently ongoing uncertainty over the Pentagon’s budget has worn off somewhat.

As for me, after close to 50 years of serving the American people — began in 1964 when I served as a first lieutenant in the United States Army, and then in both the legislative and executive branch positions in Washington — the time has come for me to return to my wife Sylvia, our three sons, their families, our six grandchildren, and my walnut farm — (laughter) — dealing with a different set of nuts.