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He May Be a Shoe In: Defense Secretary-nominee Robert Gates made the rounds on Capitol Hill on Friday, holding private chats with senior Democratic and Republican Senators before his formal confirmation hearing on Dec. 5. Reportedly, he has passed his first test. According to Associated Press news service, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) expects Gates easily to secure the top defense post. Reid said it is definitely to Gates’s advantage that lawmakers want “The change to take place very quickly.”