Robert Gates Confirmed as Secretary of Defense

By: Steve Fullhart / Associated Press Email
By: Steve Fullhart / Associated Press Email
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It only took two days, but the Senate says Robert Gates is the man to head up the Department of Defense. Wednesday, the full Senate gave its overwhelming approval to Texas A&M's president.

Overwhelming is an understatement. Gates' confirmation really wasn't in question, but the margin was stark: 95-2.

The only dissenting votes came from Republicans: Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Jim Bunning of Kentucky.

On the floor of the Senate, Bunning said he did not believe Gates was a forward thinker or someone who had offered solutions to the war in Iraq.

But the sentiment from the vast majority was that Texas A&M's president will provide needed change in the Pentagon.

During Tuesday's hearing, Gates said the US is not winning the war, though he later clarified that they are not losing either. He said all options are on the table for a change in direction, and that a trip to Iraq and discussions with generals there will be among his first actions.

A swearing will likely happen later this month.

On News 3 and 5, we spoke with Texas Senator John Cornyn, who talked about Gates' personality.

"Secretary Gates now has a demeanor that I think is warm and engaging," Cornyn said. "He seems like he's a person with some humility."

Those are qualities, Cornyn says, that the out-going secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, did not display.

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CAPITOL HILL (AP) - The Senate has voted overwhelmingly to confirm Robert Gates to be defense secretary. The vote was 95-to-2.

The vote, coupled with the release of the Iraq Study Group's report that is sharply critical of the administration's approach to the war, increases the pressure on the president to rethink US strategy.

Gates said this week that he does not think the US is winning that war and conceded that all options for overhauling the administration's approach must remain on the table.

Gates will be sworn in later this month.

The two senators who voted against Gates were Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Jim Bunning of Kentucky. Both are Republicans.


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