The hearing is expected to be focused on global conflicts. In several interviews this week with SASC members, the first issues senators mentioned when asked just what they intended to ask the duo about were “Syria” or “Afghanistan” or “Egypt.” As a service for you, dear reader, your correspondent will be live tweeting the action here.
However, one senator known for making confirmation hearings feisty, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Tuesday told your correspondent he has big questions about Dempsey’s judgement — and about the quality of advice he has been giving President Obama for the last two years.
“There are a number of things he has said and done which are very questionable,” McCain said during a brief interview.
There are no signs that either four-star officer’s nomination is in doubt. All indications are both will quickly — quickly for this Senate, at least — be confirmed by the full upper chamber.
But several SASC Republicans could give Dempsey some pointed questions, led by McCain, mostly to take shots some political shots at Obama.
Other candidates to ignite some fireworks: Ranking Member James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who is leading an effort in the Senate to restrict officers’ ability to get involved in sexual assault cases that involve personnel under their command. And tea party Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas — who garnered his first major national headlines by roughing up Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during his Jan. 31 confirmation hearing — always is a wildcard.
Here’s a tip for those craving political sparks who will be watching the session live: Plan your morning bathroom break for the question-and-answer time between Inhofe and McCain. Panel Vice Chairman Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island is a loyal Democrat, so he’s not likely to anger the White House by going after Dempsey, of whom Obama is said to think highly.
For those who can’t watch live, check DefenseNews.com for updates, as news happens. And, as mentioned, your correspondent will be live-tweeting the action. You’re welcome.