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Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:05 PM

White House On Offensive To Get Hagel As Defense Secretary

By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON | Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:26pm EST

(Reuters) - As Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama's nominee to lead the Pentagon, prepared to meet with senior New York Senator Chuck Schumer in mid-January, the White House stepped in and ensured that the get-together would take place quickly - and in the West Wing.

Some of the loudest objections to Obama's choice of Hagel for secretary of defense stemmed from lawmakers' concerns about his past comments on Israel and Iran.

And with Schumer, the leading Jewish Democrat in Congress, among those expressing doubts, the administration wanted to make absolutely clear that it expected his support. Hosting the meeting in the White House wing housing the president's official offices was a symbol of its importance to the administration.

The West Wing session - followed by Schumer's effusive endorsement of Hagel - was part of an all-out offensive Obama's White House has launched to secure Hagel's nomination, administration officials and congressional aides said. The campaign has included a Pentagon task force, hours of meetings and, at times, some judicious direct intervention.

MORE...

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/30/us-usa-obama-nominations-hagel-idUSBRE90T07B20130130

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:23 PM

1. Interesting what goes on behind the scenes. I read that Sen. Cochran of Mississippi

is the first Repub to endorse him, so there will probably be more. Nice that Joe Biden has showed up to some of the meetings to support him. It's pretty sad that he has to work this hard, though--at least with convincing some Democrats, who are disappointing me with their hawkish neocon concern-trolling.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:28 PM

2. Was just going to post a similar post. Why is this so hard???

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Response to monmouth3 (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 02:15 PM

4. I think, two reasons: one, the Israel lobby exists, it's powerful, and it's going to

make sure Hagel serves as an example for any other member of Congress that even if Hagel slips by and is confirmed, no one else will ever speak up independently, or step out of line from the approved talking points and positions ever again. Two: the Senators want to force him to agree with their views and box him in, in regard to future defense contracts (state $$$) and war and defense policy positions. I have a feeling that McCain will force him to say the surge was the best military strategy ever devised, for example. And other Senators might make him agree to keep certain nuclear or military programs going (for their states or defense industry donors).

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 02:28 PM

5. I didn't realize Israel had become a State and as far as McCain goes, I hope Hagel puts him in his

place..

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Response to monmouth3 (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 02:37 PM

6. Well, Obama has put considerable faith in him, and is spending political capital

to get him in at the DoD--I'm sure he's trusting that Hagel will say what needs to be said to get confirmed.

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Response to TwilightGardener (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 02:38 PM

7. Thank you TG, interesting post...n/t

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:38 PM

3. Wish White House would've done the same for Susan Rice. They just rolled over and played dead.

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Response to Liberal_Stalwart71 (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 05:18 PM

8. Did you ever think maybe they weren't convinced she was right

for the position? She was never officially nominated except by the media and rethugs...I don't think they rolled over at all and am glad they're picking their battles according to who they want to fight for.

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Response to babylonsister (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 05:25 PM

10. Me too.

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Response to Liberal_Stalwart71 (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 05:24 PM

9. Obama never said that she was the first choice - the Washington Post reported

it as what they heard - then gradually referred to as a given. They clearly were lobbying for Rice. Given that the job includes working with the Congress, with which she had only a few good ties and many who were not impressed and diplomacy - where she is called abrasive and Kerry is praised as a very diplomatic person, it is hard to make a case that Kerry is not by far the better choice.

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Response to karynnj (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 06:56 PM

11. Forgive me. I'm in a stinky mood today. ;)

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Response to Liberal_Stalwart71 (Reply #11)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 08:14 PM

12. No problem - I'm glad Obama is fighting for Hagel

Obama did very strongly defend Rice - so strongly that many used it as proof that she was his choice - even though he prefaced his remarks with saying that he had not made up his mind.

Just reading the various articles, it seemed that what really killed Rice was likely not the Republican attacks, but the various comments that she was abrasive and did not have strong relationships with many Congressmen/Senators. In addition, there were foreign diplomats - including many from Russia - who already were pretty negative about her.

The downsides of picking Kerry were mostly positives about Kerry - that Obama would lose a very strong, good ally in the Senate on both the SFRC and Finance committees. That and the neutral (with respect to Kerry) concern that the Democrats could lose the state. The ONLY negatives even the WP (which was 100% behind Rice) had were that he was very rich and that he was very independent. The latter ignores, that while Kerry has his own very strong believes, when he acted as a surrogate, he was very very good remembering to represent the President, not himself. (something other politicians had more problems with.) On the plus side, no one doubted the respect he had earned in the Senate, his diplomatic skills, his integrity or his knowledge and vision on foreign policy.

If you were Obama, why would you chose to spend the political capital to gain Rice on the team, when she could fail either as a diplomat or in being the administration's FP spokesperson with Congress when there was a less risky choice who many thought deserved it. In fact, it was mostly the Republican attacks that made people here run to Rice's side.

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Response to karynnj (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 11:15 PM

14. Right.. it was a "media" driven choice.

A narrative drama they had and too many got sucked in.

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Response to Liberal_Stalwart71 (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 11:13 PM

13. It's obvious to me that the White House wanted John Kerry all

the time because he obviously is the best one for the job.

Funny thing about the President .. he wants the very best for his Admin. And, Susan Rice is in his Admin.. just not right for SOS.

Nobody played dead. That's insulting to the Susan Rice and the President.

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Response to Cha (Reply #13)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 07:29 AM

15. +1

Well put

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