Not what you want in a defense secretary: “Throughout the hearing, Hagel has seemed slightly off-kilter, barely getting a word in during former friend John McCain’s tough questioning over Hagel’s positions on the Iraq surge and getting stumped on questions about Afghanistan troop levels and other policy issues.”

The Kennedy Center- Matt McClain/Washington Post

Not what President Obama promised. “More U.S. small-business owners say they let employees go than hired them on average over the past 12 months, for a net hiring index of -10 in January, according to the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index. This is similar to the -12 recorded in November, the -9 of a year ago, and the -12 of January 2011, but up from the low of -27 in January 2010.”

Not what Chuck Hagel wanted to hear. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.): “I think that Chuck Hagel appeared weak and wobbly today. Unconvincing and not the kind of sound judgment and strong leadership you need in a secretary of defense.”

Not what the White House wanted to hear. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.): “I don’t think it’s going very well for Senator Hagel. You know, there’s a telling part at the beginning of the hearing where it was mentioned that Senator Kerry, the newly confirmed Secretary of State, came out of his committee on a unanimous basis and confirmed with only dissenting votes in the Senate. I think it’s very, very telling that although a number of us disagree with Senator Kerry on a number of issues, we have confidence in him to represent capably the United States view. And, frankly, a lot of us served with Senator Hagel. I think the fact it’s going to be close, there’s hardly any Republican support for him from people who worked with him and in caucuses with him and on committees with him. I think it speaks volumes about the level of confidence that we don’t have about this individual to head really the number one national security job in the United States.”

Not what Jay Carney wanted to be talking about. “White House press secretary Jay Carney refused to say Thursday whether the government of Iran is ‘legitimate,’ hours after Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel stumbled over the subject during his confirmation hearing.”

Not what liberals were expecting. “Hagel is floundering through one policy answer after another. IRGC terrorism, Iraq surge, nukes.”

Not what the Obama administration asserted about Syria. “Israel’s air strike on a Syrian weapons convoy is not the first such successful attack they have done. In September 2007, Israel attacked the nuclear reactor Syria was building (with North Korean help) and eliminated it. In both these cases, Syria’s air defenses proved worthless and Israel lost no planes. These facts are worth noting because a major and repeated excuse for American passivity in Syria has been the claimed effectiveness of those air defenses.”

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.