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January 08, 2013

Is Schumer Key to Hagel's Chances?

Mark Halperin suggests Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is the key to whether former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) will ultimately be confirmed as defense secretary.

"To beat someone, a nominee who doesn't have a scandal -- no one is alleging any impropriety or scandal or personal problem; it's all about policy. Very rare to beat somebody on just policy, particularly if it stays an inside game. Are there people in Washington and in elite circles who want to stop Hagel? Absolutely. Is the public engaged on this? No way, not now. And the challenge for people who oppose is to do one of two things. Either to get the public engaged and say we want to stop Chuck Hagel. Unlikely. Or to pick off a prominent Democratic senator, who, in the end, says, 'I can't vote for this person.' Schumer is the key. If Schumer supports Hagel, it's almost impossible to imagine them stopping him from being confirmed."

First Read: "Hagel's support, at best, in the Senate is an inch deep and that 'inch' would get him the votes he needs. But it wouldn't take much for the bottom to, well, fall out. This is going to be a precarious few weeks."

Meanwhile, breaking with standard procedure for a high profile nominee, Hagel gave an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star to defend his "unequivocal, total support for Israel"


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