Chuckmate! Schumer Clears the Way for Hagel

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Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer was hyped as the biggest obstacle to Chuck Hagel becoming Secretary of Defense, but Schumer has officially backed Hagel, CNN's Dana Bash reports after Schumer recieved "reassurances" about Iran and Israel during a 90-minute meeting on Monday.

When Schumer refused to comment on whether a then-hypothetical Hagel nomination would lead to confirmation December 23, Politico's Playbook declared "HAGEL IDEA = TOAST." Last week, Schumer was still reportedly telling fellow senators that it would be "very hard" for him to support Hagel. What happened? Hagel told Schumer he'd do "whatever it takes" to stop Iran from getting nukes, Schumer said in a statement, and that planning for a possible military strike on Iran would be Hagel's "top priority" at the Defense Department. This is probably the end of Democratic opposition to Hagel. Sen. Barbara Boxer now backs him, too.

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