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Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) leaves a news conference in Omaha, Nebraska March 12, 2007. REUTERS/Dave Kaup
With the Senate Armed Services committee holding its hearing on President Barack Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense, Senate Republicans are finally getting their chance to grill their former colleague in public.

But while sparks may fly, that's about as far as the drama will go, because with Republicans like Sen. Bob Corker saying they will not filibuster the president's nominee, Hagel will be confirmed. With Democrats united behind Hagel, he'll still become defense secretary even if every Republican votes against him. The only thing that could stop him is a disastrous performance in the hearing, but that won't happen: Hagel has been preparing for weeks, meeting with most members of the Senate, and taking part in several mock hearings.

Given the lack of real political drama, the thing I'm most interested in seeing is whether Canadian-born chickenhawk Sen. Ted "Calgary" Cruz (R-TX) has the courage to once again question Hagel's patriotism to his face. As you might remember, over the weekend Cruz said Hagel was against the U.S. military despite the fact that Hagel is a decorated Vietnam veteran and that Cruz has never served a day of his life in the armed forces.

The hearing began at 9:30 AM ET. You can watch it live here.


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