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Hagel confirmed as SecDef; Rand Paul explains 'yes' vote

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By Doug Powers  •  February 26, 2013 10:34 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Senate confirmed Chuck Hagel as the next defense secretary:

Hagel was confirmed in a final vote of 58 to 41. Four Republicans joined Democrats in supporting Hagel: Sens. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.; Mike Johanns, R-Neb.; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and Richard Shelby, R-Ala. No Democrats voted against Hagel, but one — Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. — did not vote.

Rand Paul explained why he ended up voting yes:

“There are many things I disagree with Chuck Hagel on, there are many things I disagree with John Kerry on, there are very few things I agree with the president on, but the president gets to choose political appointees.”

And the Constitution includes the Senate in the process to serve merely as a welcoming committee?

Paul’s final vote shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise — just ten days ago, after voting to confirm John Kerry, Paul said the president should have the prerogative to choose his nominees.

Paul voted “no” twice on cloture for Hagel, and says he did so in order for leverage to get more information from the White House (before ultimately voting yes). Paul plans to take a similar approach pertaining to the John Brennan nomination for CIA director, saying he wants more info about the Nobel Peace Prize winning president’s drone strike policies and the possible targeting of Americans on domestic soil (before Paul will presumably vote in favor of Brennan’s confirmation as well). Something tells me this “press, press and give” information-gathering strategy is going to lose its effectiveness quickly.

The Senate roll call is here.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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