Texan Faces Senators for Confirmation

President Bush's choice for a new defense secretary is telling a Senate panel the Iraq war will be his "highest priority.''

Robert Gates say he's "under no illusions'' about why he's in line for the job.

One senator calls Gates' views a ''refreshing breath of reality.''

Gates told lawmakers that developments in Iraq over the next year or two will greatly shape events to come in the mideast
and elsewhere.  


Today Gates won speedy and unanimous approval from the Senate Armed Services Committee after five hours of testimony, a bipartisan show of support that suggested how eager many lawmakers are to replace Donald H. Rumsfeld at the Pentagon. The full Senate could seal Gates' confirmation as early as Wednesday.

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