Leon Panetta just can't seem to start his retirement. The outgoing Defense Secretary will have to remain in his post for the time being after the Senate began a filibuster of Panetta's would-be replacement, former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel. On Thursday, GOP senators denied Hagel the 60 votes he needs to move his nomination to the final stages. Republicans say they want the delay so that they can look more closely at the nominee. Both sides still think Hagel will still be confirmed, but the move delivers a sharp blow to President Obama and the White House. During a Google Fireside Hangout The President called it “unfortunate,” summing up how the times have changed on Capitol Hill by saying “What seems to be happening, and this has been growing over time, is the Republican minority in the Senate seems to think that the rule now is that you need to have 60 votes for everything. Well, that’s not the rule.” Democrats say some Republicans facing 2014 elections are so fearful of being “primaried” that they are ignoring some of the Senate’s bipartisan traditions in order to be more in line with junior Tea Party lawmakers. Some GOP senators tried to downplay the filibuster, saying they will eventually allow a simple-majority vote on Hagel. Others say they stalled the nomination because they want more information about some of the former senator’s foreign policy speeches and his work with private investment groups. Several Republicans initially said they wanted more information about the September 11th attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya in exchange for approving the nomination. And late Thursday, Arizona Senator John McCain argued that the stalling stemmed from Hagel’s past criticism of Former President George W. Bush. In the end, Hagel is likely to succeed Panetta at the Pentagon, but the message has been conveyed: few decisions in Washington these days will come without a fight. We’ll discuss the delay tactics and more when we see you at noon ET on msnbc.
Josh Green, Senior National Correspondent, Bloomberg Businessweek (@joshuagreen)
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Radhika Jones, Executive Editor, TIME (@radhikajones)
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