Haggling With Hagel: President Obama’s Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel tangled with fellow Republican John McCain during his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday. McCain became irate when Hagel refused to answer whether the 2007 surge in Iraq helped stabilize that country, asking him: “Are you going to answer the question? Let the record show that you refused to answer the question.” Hagel responded, “I’m not going to give you a yes or no. I’ll defer that judgment to history.” McCain then told Hagel that “history has already made a judgment” and that the former Nebraska senator was “on the wrong side of it.” All in all, it was a particularly bad day for Hagel, with at least one prominent GOP senator—Florida’s Marco Rubio—announcing publicly he would oppose the nomination. (Read more)
Band-Aid Solution: The Senate on Thursday adopted the House-passed legislation to temporarily raise the country’s debt ceiling through May 18, a move that averts the threat of government default—for now. President Obama will sign the bill, the White House has already announced. The Senate legislation does come with one important provision: Pay will be temporarily withheld for lawmakers of either house that doesn’t pass a budget this year. You probably won’t get a lot of argument from the people on that one. (Read more)
Nay on Gay: A Tennessee Republican lawmaker has reintroduced the so-called Don’t Say Gay bill, and it’s now more awful than ever. The latest version features a new provision that would essentially require teachers in the state to out their students—even if they only suspect the pupils to be LGBT—to parents. It also endorses counseling for students who might be gay, prohibits elementary and middle school teachers from acknowledging homosexuality even exists and allows them to discuss sexual activity only when it’s related to “natural human production.” (Read more)
Capitol Offense: Brace yourselves. Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera says he is “truly contemplating” running for Senate in New Jersey. The conservative media personality made the announcement on his radio show Thursday. If Rivera does decide to run, he would face some stiff competition from the Democratic side. Sen. Frank Lautenberg is up for re-election in 2014 and has not announced yet whether he will seek another term. Newark Mayor Cory Booker is also mulling a Senate bid, and could present a major primary threat to Lautenberg if both men decide to run. In making the announcement, Rivera told his listeners, “I figure at my age, if I’m going to do it I’ve got to do it. And there doesn’t seem to be any Republicans ready to work against or run against Cory Booker, the popular Newark mayor.” (Read more)
Video of the Day: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock deserves some major props. Hancock lost a bet with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake when the Broncos lost to the Ravens in the NFL playoffs a few weeks back. The result: Denver’s Democratic mayor was forced to do Ray Lewis’ signature game dance. Not only did Hancock perform the moves, he also uploaded them to YouTube for the entire world to see. Moreover, proving he’s a good sport, Hancock wished “Ray Ray” good luck in Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. (For comparison, watch Ray Lewis’ version below).