Senators: Hagel would face tough confirmation
BY AP Wire Service
Monday, December 24, 2012
12/24/12 at 5:33 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) - Two senators predicted Sunday that former Sen. Chuck Hagel would face a difficult confirmation if nominated by President Barack Obama to be defense secretary.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who's retiring and wouldn't have a vote, cited Hagel's less-than-hawkish positions on Iran. Lieberman told CNN's "State of the Union" that it would be "a very tough confirmation process," and "there are reasonable questions to ask and that Chuck Hagel will have to answer."
On NBC's "Meet the Press," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said it would be "a challenging nomination."
"I don't think he's going to get many Republican votes," Graham said.
Hagel, 66, is considered the leading candidate to replace Leon Panetta at the Pentagon, although a number of GOP senators have expressed reservations about a nomination. Their concerns largely center on Hagel's past comments about Israel and Iran. Outside groups have suggested that based on Hagel's remarks, he isn't sufficiently supportive of Israel, an important ally in the Middle East.
Hagel, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, has favored diplomacy over military action with Iran, and criticized talk of a strike by either the United States or Israel against Iran.
At least two other candidates remain under serious consideration - former Pentagon policy chief Michele Flournoy and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
Original Print Headline: Senators: Hagel would have foes