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Will Republicans regret the decision to delay Chuck Hagel's nomination?

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For still others, it seems more like a personal vendetta. Arizona Sen. John McCain's much-replayed comments to Fox News Thursday almost certainly won't be helpful to the Republican cause. "There’s a lot of ill will towards Senator Hagel because when he was a Republican, he attacked President Bush mercilessly," McCain told host Neil Cavuto. "At one point, he said [Bush] was the worst president since Herbert Hoover, said that the surge was the worst blunder since the Vietnam War, which is nonsense – and he was very anti his own party and people. People don’t forget that."

The fact that enough Republicans have already publicly said they'll vote in favor of cloture when the Senate reconvenes, thereby allowing Hagel to be confirmed – since there are already more than 50 senators in the "yea" column – makes Thursday's filibuster seem even more petty and political. The only saving grace for the GOP is that this fight is still an inside-the-Beltway issue that the majority of voters aren't likely to be following all that closely. (A Quinnipiac poll from last week found that more than two-thirds of Americans "haven't heard enough" about Hagel to have either a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him.)

Given everything else White House officials are focused on these days, they may choose to just let the matter quietly resolve itself 10 days from now. But if they decide to go on offense – in an effort, perhaps, to salvage Hagel's reputation – it's not hard to see how they could turn this matter against Republicans.

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