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By Ed O'Keefe

Highlights of Tuesday's Post Politics Hour, hosted by The Federal Eye:

Politics Hour

Florissant Valley, MO: Morning, Ed. My impression over the last many years is that most budgets are DOA at Capitol Hill. Is Obama's another one? Any chance he may sit down with Rep leaders and try to hash out some minimal areas of agreement? In other words, will last Friday's encounter lead to anything substantial? Thanks

Ed O'Keefe: It seems most would like to see something substantive come from last Friday's Battle in Baltimore, but Republicans don't seem eager to meet with the president, at least considering their statements since the meeting and their reaction to Monday's budget release.

But you're correct: Any president's budget proposal is just that -- a proposal -- and it's likely to change significantly. Both Republicans AND Democrats will want changes.

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Toronto, ON: Why does the US have such trouble with the idea of gays serving in the military? Canada, Britain and Israel for instance have no problem with it. Heck, in Canada military chaplains perform gay wedding ceremonies. Is it because of the power of the religious right?

Ed O'Keefe: That's part of the concern, yes, but most of the folks I talk to -- in and outside the military -- say it's more of a generational issue, between older military leaders and a younger rank and file that is increasingly accustomed to and comfortable with serving with gay, lesbian and bisexual people.

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Washington, D.C.: I've noticed that you have been using the term "confirm" pretty loosely. For example, yesterday a headline in your blog said that the Senate voted to confirm Patricia Smith when in actuality, the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the nomination, something you clarified in the post. In the past you have written/tweeted that a Senate committee has voted to confirm a nominee when in actuality the committee voted to report the nomination to the full Senate. Sometimes I think you use that term too loosely and it could be misleading. Other times, I just think you don't know what the word confirm means. Maybe I'm the only person who has noticed or finds it a little odd, but it is a strange feeling to read that someone is confirmed (GREAT!) but to realize that they have a few steps to go before being able to start the job.

Ed O'Keefe: Washington -- I'm thrilled to know someone's reading my work so closely!

Thanks for catching that headline error. I just changed it to, "Labor nominee M. Patricia Smith clears procedural hurdle"

Using "tapped," "cleared," "approved" and ultimately "confirmed" is confusing -- but they all mean very different things.

The president "taps" someone to serve, then formally "nominates" them. A committee "approves" or "clears" or "refers them to the full Senate" and then the full body ultimately "confirms."

You're correct -- and I'll be more careful in the future.

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Clifton, VA: As a retired O6 and decorated Navy Seal I never had a problem with gay service members. And yeah there were a few in teams I commanded. Its a matter of leadership and applying the same rules and regs that apply to straights. If you can't lead gay and lesbian soldiers its time for you to consider employment at Wal Mart because you lack the leadership abilities and skills this country needs now.

BTW I am a independent who has never voted for a Dem for prez. And our prez could use a few lessons in leadership and listening.

Ed O'Keefe: One person's opinion... thanks for sharing!

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re: Patricia Smith: Hi, Ed - so what do you think will happen now on Smith's nomination? Enzi has said he has a stack of documents he wants to share with his colleagues and Harkin's defense of her seemed tepid.

Ed O'Keefe: First off, realize that this isn't a big nomination, and not one that most people are terribly concerned about, both because it's a low-rung position and labor issues aren't dominating the political dialogue.

That said, it looks like she'll eventually get confirmed. Republicans will do what they can until then to stall the process, as is their Senatorial right.

Read Tuesday's full Post Politics Hour here

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 2, 2010; 11:47 AM ET
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