Today’s edition of quick hits:
* It’s official: the Senate confirmed Chuck Hagel as the nation’s new Defense Secretary. The final vote was 58 to 41. Every Republican but four – Thad Cochran, Rand Paul, Mike Johanns, and Richard Shelby – voted in opposition to the nomination.
* President Obama spoke at Newport News Shipbuilding today in the hopes that public pressure will lead congressional Republicans to be more responsible before sequestration cuts kick in. The overhaul of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is currently docked nearby, has been put on hold due to GOP antics, reinforcing the real-world impact of the Republicans’ tactics.