Let Me Start: Chuck Hagel’s Moment

Chuck Hagel, the first cabinet nominee to be filibustered.
Chuck Hagel, the first cabinet nominee to be filibustered.
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The Senate is scheduled to vote on President Obama’s pick to be Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel. The first hurdle Hagel must clear is a vote to cut off all debate on his nomination, which requires 60 votes. If that passes, the Senate could move on to a straight up or down vote on his confirmation, requiring only a simple majority.

We’re just days away from those massive, automatic, job-killing spending cuts. And while the Republicans are pointing fingers and hoping they can weather the storm, President Obama is trying to beat them in the court of public opinion. Meanwhile, a trip of House Republicans is urging both sides to stop the cuts from taking place, and one of them, Virginia’s Scott Rigell, will be the first Republican in nearly a year to fly with the President on Air Force One.

More evidence how far the country has come on marriage equality: Prominent Republicans have signed onto an amicus brief in support of same-sex marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a suit which could strike down California’s gay marriage ban, known as Prop 8. Among the signees: U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York, former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, former Bush National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, and former Bush Commerce Secretary Carlos Guttierez.

President Obama will meet today with Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham to push for immigration reform.

One of the brightest stars in the Republican Party – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie – won’t be invited to this year’s CPAC confab, the annual conservative conference meeting. That’s what happens when you say nice things about President Obama.

Finally, what would the country look like today if Republicans had won control of the Senate? That’s the provocative question asked by The New York Times.