Chuck Hagel is not my dream nominee (let’s face it, he’s still a conservative), but he has a saner perspective on the Middle East than anyone else that’s qualified — which is the reason progressives should support him. But for the first time, a secretary of defense nominee is being filibustered — thanks to Grumpy McCain and Harry Reid’s chronic enabling of the minority. Will the administration have the votes? They’re not so sure anymore:
(CNN) – Multiple administration officials tell CNN the White House sent a letter to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin in response to Republican senators asking for answers on the terror attack against a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi last year.
The three GOP senators-Sens. Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Kelly Ayotte–had demanded answers about the attack in a letter Tuesday to the Obama administration before committing to vote on Chuck Hagel’s nomination for defense secretary. Graham had publicly stated that he was specifically asking whether President Obama called Libyan officials to help the night of the attack on the consulate in Benghazi.
Meanwhile, McCain told CNN Thursday morning that he had not yet seen the White House’s letter.
The administration has been wary of responding–saying the GOP keeps moving goal posts–but the response is a sign they are losing patience and getting nervous about the Hagel nomination.
Hagel, who’s battled his way through a rocky nomination process, faces an uncertain outcome during the Senate’s critical vote on Friday, as Democrats attempt to break a potential GOP filibuster of the defense secretary nominee.
Doubts were raised Wednesday after McCain said he was reconsidering his pledge not to filibuster Hagel because the Obama administration was refusing to provide key details about the president’s actions on the night of the attack in Libya.
McCain’s vote is important because he is one of the leading Republicans on military matters and other senators are expected to follow his lead. But he was also one of just five GOP senators who publically announced they would not filibuster Hagel. If he supports the filibuster, it could be impossible for Hagel to get 60 votes.
Despite earlier optimism that Hagel would get confirmed, senior congressional sources in both parties are now less positive. They told CNN they now are not sure he will get the votes.