100-to-0 Vote Puts Panetta in Top Post

June 21, 2011

Leon E. Panetta was confirmed unanimously by the Senate on Tuesday as the new secretary of defense, placing him in charge of the final stage of the withdrawal in Iraq and the Obama administration's military policy in Afghanistan.

The 100-to-0 vote in favor of Mr. Panetta, a former House member and White House official who most recently served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, showed strong Congressional confidence in his ability to hold what lawmakers described as one of the most demanding jobs in the capital.

"Leon Panetta heading up the Department of Defense is just a home-run choice," said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, noting that the strong backing for Mr. Panetta was a rare bipartisan moment.

Mr. Panetta, a native of Monterey, Calif., will succeed Robert M. Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration who is also held in high regard by members of both parties on Capitol Hill.

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