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Lindsey Graham Says He'll Oppose Hagel Vote, But Insists It's Not A Filibuster

A filibuster by any other name would delay just the same.

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WASHINGTON — Sen. Lindsey Graham Tuesday warned he'll oppose a planned effort to bring former Sen. Chuck Hagel's Secretary of State nomination to the Senate floor Thursday until the White House answers nagging questions about the President's actions during the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Libya.

Pointing to a letter he sent to Obama asking what actions Obama took during the attack to contact the Libyan government, Graham was asked whether he would vote against beginning debate: "Until I get that question answered, yes," he said.

Although that would essentially mean he'd be siding with Republicans pushing for a filibuster, Graham didn't see it that way.

"I define it as constitutional oversight using the only leverage left … What happens when an administration gets totally defiant? You have to push back," Graham said.

It's not unusual for the minority party to use a president's nominations as a way to extract promises on policy issues — or political pay back, for that matter — from an administration.

But Hagel finds himself buffeted not only by those traditional forces but also a conservative efforts to torpedo his nomination by conservatives, which is unique given the fact that the Senate generally shows great deference to former colleagues.

John Stanton is a senior national correspondent for BuzzFeed News. In 2014, Stanton was a recipient of the National Press Foundation’s 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress.

Contact John Stanton at

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