Weeks before President Obama officially nominated Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense, the lobbying battle was well under way. The fight might be bigger than any other Cabinet nomination in history as the former Republican senator's friends and foes prepare for modern combat on TV and the Internet.
So why did President Obama choose Chuck Hagel to be his new defense secretary?
First, Hagel is Obama's kind of Republican. The former senator from Nebraska is a realist and pragmatist who hasn't been afraid to buck the orthodoxy of his chosen party, for instance when Hagel opposed the Iraq War.
NPR coverage of the Hagel/Brennan nomination announcements
President Obama this afternoon nominated former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to be his next defense secretary and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.
In those two, the president said, he has chosen men with experience in the field and who "understand the consequences of decisions we make in this town" on the men and women who serve America around the world,