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Chuck Hagel: The Armed Service Committee whip list

The case for John Boehner (or why nobody believes in him but should)

Chuck Hagel’s chances — in 3 charts

Some 2016 hopefuls have little use for coyness

Why Republicans don’t trust Chuck Hagel — in 5 easy steps

Jay Leno on congressional pay raises (VIDEO)

President Obama picks a confirmation fight. Can he win it?


* A new Pew Research Center survey shows that most Americans believe President Obama won the battle over the "fiscal cliff," but they don't think too highly of the deal that that was reached. Fifty-seven percent of Americans say that Obama got more of what he wanted from the deal, but just 38 percent approve of the resulting tax legislation, with 41 percent disapproving. 

* In an interview published just after he was officially nominated by Obama to be the next Defense Secretary, former Nebraska Republican senator Chuck Hagel pushed back against critics who he said distorted his views on Iran and Israel. Hagel said an accurate assessment of his record will demonstrate "unequivocal, total support for Israel" and endorsement of tough international economic sanctions against Iran.

* George H.W. Bush is still recovering at a Houston hospital, and there is no timeline for his release, his spokesman said. Bush has been hospitalized since Nov. 23, when he was admitted with a severe cough. He battled a fever in intensive care in late December. 

* Former Massachusetts Democratic congressman Barney Frank, who has been lobbying for a temporary Senate appointment, dialed back his opposition to Hagel that had been based on the former senator's prior comments about gays.“As much as I regret what Hagel said, and resent what he said, the question now is going to be Afghanistan and scaling back the military. In terms of the policy stuff, if he would be rejected [by the Senate], it would be a setback for those things," said Frank. Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said if Frank is appointed to the Senate, "I have no doubt he will be extraordinary.”


* The Supreme Court has set aside March 26 and 27 to hear two high-profile cases  involving the issue of same-sex marriage. One case involves California's ban on same-sex marriage, while the other has to do with the Defense of Marriage Act. 

* Here's something we missed from late last week: Former Arkansas Republican congressman Asa Hutchinson said he "fully expects" to run for governor in 2014. Hutchinson is viewed as a leading contender for the GOP nomination. He was recently tapped by the National Rifle Association to lead an effort to examine what it would take to put armed security officers in every school under a national program. 

* A Ticketmaster computer glitch caused inaugural ball tickets to sell out before they were supposed to go on sale. 

* Democratic strategist Roy Occhiogrosso will rejoin Global Strategy Group as managing director in the firm's Hartford, Conn. office. For the past two years, Occhiogrosso has served as senior adviser and chief strategist to Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy (D). 


Just another day at the office for NBA players.  

With Aaron Blake