Chuck Hagel was confirmed as Defense Secretary on Tuesday after a strong opposition from Senate Republicans. Despite being a Republican himself, Hagel had to face a possible filibuster in the process of his confirmation, which came with a 58-41 vote, the smallest margin for a defense secretary since 1947.
52 Democrats, two independents and just four Republicans voted to confirm Hagel, with 41 Republicans opposing him. The Senate had voted earlier in the afternoon 71-27 to end the debate of the nomination. Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska was nominated by President Obama to the post. Obama released the following statement:
“I will be counting on Chuck’s judgment and counsel as we end the war in Afghanistan, bring our troops home, stay ready to meet the threats of our time and keep our military the finest fighting force in the world.”
Hagel will be sworn in tomorrow morning and face spending cuts as they are set to automatically kick in on March 1. In a statement, Hagel said, “I will work closely with Congress to ensure that we maintain the strongest military in the world and continue to protect this great nation.”
Republicans opposed the nomination in part because of Hagel’s opposition to the troop surge in Iraq. There were also concerns about comments Hagel had made that put into question is commitment to Israel and suggestions were made that he received money from North Korea.
While the public is divided on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll show’s that President Obama holds a significant lead on the issue over Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Only 30% of people polled have a favorable opinion of Governor Romney’s stance on health care, while 47% view it negatively. The 17% deficit also comes with 23% of those polled undecided.
The spit on the law in general came with 43% of Americans seeing it favorably while 42% view it unfavorably. That was a shift prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling as 52% viewed it negatively, to 36% who viewed it positively.
ABC News wrote:
“A challenge for Romney, in addition to his weaker support overall, is the fact that critics of the Supreme Court ruling don’t flock to him as an alternative. Among people who see the ruling unfavorably, Romney’s plans for the system get a tepid 45-36 percent positive rating. Among those who see the ruling favorably, by contrast, 86 percent also see Obama’s plans favorably.
Obama’s plans for the system are 12 points more popular than Romney’s among independents, the customary swing voters in national elections. But both men do poorly in this group – 38 percent positive for Obama, 26 percent for Romney. And Obama tips into majority negative territory among independents; 52 percent see his plans for health care unfavorably. Romney’s at 46 percent negative, again with more undecided.”
The Road We’ve Traveled, a new 17 minute short film about the first term of President Obama was unveiled to campaign volunteers to get them ready for the road ahead. The Obama re-election campaign produced the film, with Oscar-winning director Davis Guggenheim directing the short film. Narrated by Tom Hanks, it includes sit down interviews with President Obama’s closest advisors and other politicians. Those featured include, VP Joe Biden, David Axelrod, Elizabeth Warren and Rahm Emanuel.
The film touches on the killing of Osama bin Laden, the economic stimulus, the auto industry bailout, the wind-down of the Iraq war, the health care law, repealing don’t ask-don’t tell, the women’s equal pay act, among other accomplishments.
“It’s really effective to see everything summarized like that,” 27-year-old Alison Shurtleff told Politico. Shurtleff had volunteered for Obama in 2008. He added, “You kind of forget some of the stuff from the beginning, right after his election.”
Guggenheim won his Oscar for directing Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.
The film can be seen in its entirety below.