Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M. Gates:
I had been through three previous confirmation hearings. The first, in 1986, for deputy director of central and culminated in a unanimous vote. The first, in 1986, for deputy director of central intelligence, was a walk in the park and culminated in a unanimous vote. The second, in early 1987, for director of central intelligence, occurred in the middle of the Iran-Contra scandal; when it became clear that the Senate would not confirm me with so many unanswered questions about my role, I withdrew. The third, in 1991, again to be DCI, had been protracted and rough but ended with my confirmation, with a third of the senators voting against me. Experience told me that unless I really screwed up in my testimony, I would be confirmed as secretary of defense by a very wide margin. An editorial cartoon at the time captured the mood of the Senate (and the press) perfectly: it showed me standing with upraised right arm taking an oath—“I am not now nor have I ever been Donald Rumsfeld.” It was a useful and humbling reminder that my confirmation was not about who I was but rather who I was not. It was also a statement about how poisonous the atmosphere had become in Washington.