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President George W. Bush joins Arizona Senator John McCain in a small celebration of McCain's 69th birthday Monday, Aug. 29, 2005, after the President's arrival at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix.
Short version: McCain says Hagel sucks because he was mean to Bush
Yesterday, Senate Republicans blocked a vote on former Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination to be secretary of defense, marking the first time in American history that any nominee for defense secretary has been filibustered. But don't worry, they had a very good reason to launch their historic act of destructive obstruction. Sen. John McCain, please take it away:
It goes back to there’s a lot of ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly and said he was the worst President since Herbert Hoover and said the surge was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War, which was nonsense. He was anti-his own party and people — people don’t forget that.
In other words, this is about Republicans defending their honor by standing up for George W. Bush and the Iraq War. It would be unbelievable, except these are the same guys who brought you George W. Bush and the Iraq War. And now, unlike Hagel who at least recognized his bad judgment for supporting W. and Iraq, virtually all Republicans are still committed to defending their incredibly damaging record.

But, as we'll see below the fold, there appears to be another reason McCain blocked Hagel: he didn't like being cc'd on a letter. He denies this, but take a look at the facts and decide for yourself.

As BuzzFeed's Rebecca Berg explains, on Thursday morning McCain denied having received a letter he had requested from the White House about Benghazi:

"I have not received the letter," McCain told CNN Thursday morning. "They sent the letter to Sen. Levin. It was Sen Graham and I and Ayotte that asked for an answer. We haven't received an answer."

In the interview, he said the letter's delay was a chief reason he was holding up a vote on Hagel's nomination.

"I have to receive a letter, I have to receive a letter, see whether I receive a letter or not, and there are other questions that other senators have raised which are not answered as well," McCain told CNN.

So McCain said he was upset that Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) had received a letter with answers to his questions, but that he hadn't received it. Fair enough, except the thing is, McCain actually had received the letter—the very same letter that had been sent to Sen. Levin. The only catch: McCain had been cc'd.

The White House responded to McCain's concern by sending the exact same letter it had already sent to him, but this time it put him on the "To:" line and cc'd Levin. Problem solved, right? Sure, except by Thursday afternoon McCain had decided the reason Republicans were filibustering Hagel is that they are bitter about him saying they were wrong to support George W. Bush and Iraq.

This is all a dark comedy, really. Actually, more like a tragedy, because all this nonsense could have been avoided if a handful of Democrats hadn't killed filibuster reform last month. That's a mistake they can fix, however. Please sign the petition to tell Harry Reid: Re-open filibuster reform in light of continued Republican obstructionism.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 06:44 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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